A couple of days ago, I shared an article from USA Today about how rude it is to recline your seat on an economy class flight. It generated a spirited discussion. Personally, I rarely recline on flights. The little bit the seat goes back doesn’t affect my comfort enough to make it worthwhile. I also hate it when people do it to me, so I don’t do it to others. And yes, I do think it’s rude to recline, especially on short flights, and especially when you don’t have any regard for the person sitting behind you. I mean, if someone asked me if I minded if they reclined, I probably wouldn’t say it did. In fact, I would appreciate the consideration. But if they stay reclined when I’m trying to eat, I would not think much of them.
I realize I’m short, though, so I don’t have too much of a problem with leg room. Also, even though I’m definitely not a small person, I can fit in the seat without spilling over. In Europe, I usually fly business class anyway, simply because I hate the whole experience of flying and want it to be as painless as possible. I’m going to be flying on Sunday in business class, while Bill will be in coach. He’s flying on his company’s dime, while I’m flying on ours.
Anyway… that thread got kind of contentious as we remembered experiences we’ve all had on flights. I’ve run into a few people who were total jerks on the plane. For instance, I remembered this one guy who was reclined in my lap for hours. I finally had to get up to pee, but his seat back was craned back, so I had to contort my body to get into the aisle from the window seat. I grabbed the top of the seat for balance and he gave me the stink eye. So I glared right back at him. Dude, if you’re going to be leaned back into my lap for hours, I’m going to have to wake you up when I have to pee. And then I added this…
The thread continued, and I was suddenly reminded of a somewhat obscure film from 1985. The film, which was made by the people who brought us the Police Academy movies of the 80s, was called Moving Violations. I saw it in the theater twice, accompanied by our neighborhood pervert, Mr. D., who used to show me porn magazines. For some reason, my parents didn’t think it was odd that a middle aged man was so interested in hanging out with their pre-pubescent daughter, but I digress.
Moving Violations is a super cheesy film, but it remains a guilty pleasure. It starred Bill Murray’s younger brother, John. John tried hard to sound like his brother. I thought he was funny when I was 12 or 13 years old. I now see why his film career was short lived. I still love this movie, though, even though it’s pretty lowbrow.
Anyway, Moving Violations did have some pretty funny moments in it that are still funny in 2019. One of the women in the movie was the adorable Nedra Volz, also known for playing the housekeeper Adelaide on the popular 80s era sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes. In Moving Violations, Nedra plays Mrs. Loretta Houk, who is pretty much blind. She finds herself in all kinds of crazy situations, like the one below…
Because Nedra’s character, Loretta, was so blind, she got in trouble for driving her car on the tarmac at the airport. She, and a bunch of other hapless nitwits, end up having to take driver’s education dispensed by the most uptight asshole cops ever. It seems clear that they will never pass the course and will spend the rest of their lives taking public transportation. In Loretta’s case, the rest of her life wasn’t that long, but still…
As I was reading the comments from my seat reclining thread, I was suddenly reminded of the scene in Moving Violations in which Loretta and the rest of the motley crew of would be drivers are trying to study for the driver’s exam. They’re a bit depressed at what seems to be insurmountable odds at getting their licenses returned to them. Loretta is not just depressed; she’s drunk! And when John Murray’s character, Dana Cannon, rallies the group’s spirits and revives them with the spirit to fight back, Loretta yells, “Yeah, fuck him! Rip his nuts off!”
Suddenly, I wish I had this film on DVD, though someone has thoughtfully uploaded it on YouTube. I may watch it today, as I struggle to get through the next few days.
I hope if I make it to Nedra’s age, I’m half as cool and funny as she was. I fear I’m already taller than she was, although not by much. Glad I was around in the 80s, too. I like to think of that time when the United States was still kind of “normal”.
As for flying… I think we could all stand to be more considerate and empathetic. If you’re in coach class and you need to recline your seat, at least be polite enough to see if the person behind you is eating or using their tray table. Otherwise, you might find yourself in an unpleasant altercation with a stranger and a meeting with a tight-assed cop like the one on Moving Violations.