Here’s a break from Country Parson’s usual menu of politics, economics and religion. We travel a bit, and flew cross country on three flights yesterday. It brought up an observation my wife and have shared before. When flying, some people seem compelled to talk non stop, just loud enough to be heard rows away. What’s that all about? Is it nervousness about flying, unawareness of one’s surroundings, a need be the alpha dog in a pack of strangers? What?
One, with a sonorous radio voice, held a running staff meeting with colleagues seated in various places as he demonstrated his OCD about who was traveling where and when, complete with assorted details, and why did he have to check his bag: why, why, I don’t understand, why? Another regaled his seat mate, and the rest of us, with hours long descriptions of the advantages of charter schools. Gratefully, my own seat mate wanted nothing more than quiet.
Airplanes and terminals must be infectious agents. Not long ago a guy paced up and down the length of an airline lounge trying to close a big deal. We knew it was a big deal because he kept announcing the millions of dollars involved, along with most of the unresolved negotiating points. It reminded me of the old days when a colleague repeatedly arranged to get a phone call during meetings where he thought it would impress others with his importance. We would sometimes place nickel bets on how long it would take before the call came in. A few months ago on a long haul flight, a passenger held forth for six hours without taking a breath. About what? At some point it was just noise. Then there are ordinary conversations rudely held: the speaker phone or face time calls at full volume in those moments before everyone is asked to put their phones in airplane mode.
Logorrhea is a word sometimes used in psychology to describe a condition of uncontrolled talking. There is no Imodium for it. Nor is there for its less psychotic sounding cousin, talkaholism – yes, that’s a real word. I’m thinking about a new disorder: logoairplania, and it’s close relation: terminphonearrhea. Neither is medically treatable, but good parenting could have prevented it from developing in the first place. I wonder if even now a stern mom’s voice might be useful. As for me, I’ve invested in a pair of noise cancelling ear buds. Oh, one more thing: yes, I understand you’re a newly minted billionaire, and no, I don’t want to invest in your startup company.