As an opinion columnist, I’m usually pretty direct with my words. I have no problem calling it as I see it.
One particular place where it all goes out the window is when I travel.
I’m transformed from a person who lets you know right where you stand to a passive aggressive idiot making veiled snarky comments. I think that’s because it is really tough to get people to realize that acting as individuals only delays the entire group. Think about most transportation hubs. You stand around in lines to wait and stand around in more lines. Lines at the ticket counter. Lines at security checks. Lines boarding whatever type of vessel will carry you to your destination. Lines to disembark. Lines to claim luggage. But within those lines you have people hell-bent on making them move as fast as possible, but not for the good of the group but instead for the good of themselves.
I have a few signature moves I make that highlight my passive aggressiveness. The first I call the Blind Hip Check. This is where the person from row 22 tries to scoot to the front door as quickly as possible. A well-timed step into the aisle will not only thwart their forward onslaught, but it will sometimes send them flying into the adjacent seats. There is a drawback to this tactic, though. Since you want to execute the motion as if you didn’t see the person, you have to rely on keen peripheral vision.
If you send Grandma sprawling into row seven, that is generally frowned upon.
The other move is the Fake Compliment. This is a useful tool to be used in a variety of situations. When the guy in Zone 4 decides to board with the First Class passengers and is rebuked by the gate agent, you can send him a little comfort by saying “You look like a seasoned traveler. I think the airline screwed up.”
Speaking of which, how hard is it to wait until your time to board? Not sure how being closest to the gate counts if they won’t let you through. Wouldn’t it be much easier to stand back and have a clear path? Of course it would, but trying to train lemmings is a hard business. That’s probably why you don’t see any of them in circuses, but I digress.
One time a couple decided to change a diaper in the seat next to me. I thought I had the perfect response when I looked over and said “Pureed carrots for breakfast. I miss those days. Sure beats getting a jar of prunes.”
What I thought was a sure-fire entry into the Passive Aggressive Hall of Fame was not even in the least appreciated!
My most common passive aggressive skill is reserved for airports, specifically the baggage carousel. I call it the Bull Rush. This is used when people stake out specific territories around the belt as if they’ve paid to rent them. I stay in the back and provided I can see my luggage through the mass of bodies, I charge forward to retrieve the bag, slicing through the horde as if there is a fire alarm.
There would be a really simple way to eliminate this move from the repertoire. If people simply stood back a reasonable distance and moved forward once the bag rolled out, we’d have no need to set up camp as close as possible. I’d recommend drawing a line on the floor, but all that would do is create another logjam with people standing on the line as if they rented that space too. If you are on the receiving end of a snarky comment or a violent push, it could be me. I saw you, but I’ll still give a fake apology.
Passively aggressive of course.
You can reach Scott at email@example.com to learn how to find Zone 4 on a ticket.