Monday, January 12, 2015

5 Ways to Make Friends on an Airplane

If you're interested in sitting in a winged steel tube, plummeting through the sky at thousands of miles an hour, drinking Sprite out of communion cups, and watching a movie on a TV screen the size of your thumbnail, you're probably also interested in making friends with hundreds of people who really hope you don't talk to them. Do you fly a lot? Do you get lonely during your long travels? Never fear. Here are 5 easy ways to make friends on any airplane.

1. Make eye contact. The hardest part about making friends during flight is finding the ones who are interested in talking to you. (Don't worry; you can still talk to the ones who would sooner swallow a ziplock bag than talk to someone on an airplane.) Anyway, choose the passenger closest to you and turn toward him or her. Then open your eyes as wide as you can and stare at their left sclera. Since you're probably not a scientist, I should probably tell you that the sclera is the white part of the eye. If you can see the passenger's sclera, that means he is awake. You should stare just long enough so that he notices you. Then move slightly closer. If he asks any questions, refuse to respond. It's not to time to talk yet. Once a full minute has passed (if he's still seated and hasn't called for the air marshal), whisper, "Now, sonny, how did the whites of your eyes get to be so... white? What's your secret? Heh?"

2. Ask the person next to you to switch seats. Every five minutes. This is how you establish a connection. Eventually, he'll come to depend on you.

3. Bring 85 sticks of butter. No one really cares what you bring in your carryon as long as it's not dangerous. So fill your favorite back pack full of butter. Wait until the plane takes off. Wait until the person next to you falls asleep. Then, every so often, carefully peel the paper off one of the sticks of butter and throw the naked butter as hard as you can toward the people sitting in first class. If you hear a disturbance of some kind, just wait for it to die down before making your next move. After you've thrown at least 15 of the butter sticks, the passengers WILL become disgruntled and ask the airline stewardess to find out what in the world is going on. Pay the airline stewardess $100 to tell the people in first class that the butter is a free gift from the airline and that they should be more grateful. Once the stewardess leaves, throw some more butter. One of the passengers is guaranteed to become so disturbed that he straightens his toupee, climbs over four people, and marches toward your seat. Before he gets there, drop the backpack onto your sleeping neighbor's lap. Then lean against the window and pretend to be asleep. When Mr. Toupee starts yelling, wake up and yell, "IT WAS YOU!" and point emphatically at your neighbor, who is now staring incredulously at his recently acquired backpack full of butter. Now you have their trust.

4. Stand in line for the bathroom. This is where you'll meet the most interesting people. You can handle this situation in a variety of ways. Choose the one that works best for you.
    A: Turn suddenly to the person in line behind you and say in a loud voice, "Buddy the Elf! What's your favorite color?"
    B: Kick the person in front of you in the back of the shins. When he turns around to ask you what your problem is, say, "Oh, sorry. I thought you were someone else."
    C: If you're first in line, knock on the bathroom door and say, "So, number 1 or number 2? You're taking a while in there!"

5. Ask every person on the plane if he or she has viewed the movie "Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail." It's a great talking point. It's easiest to get away with this if you dress up like an airline steward. Smile a lot, and pretend you're going to provide the passengers with refreshing drinks and criminally small-portioned snacks. Then, once you have their attention, ask your question. If an airline steward catches you, tell him it is part of a class project.

This piece is satire. I do not recommend that you actually try any of these things. Heaven knows none of them actually worked for me.