Jewish Journal

Life’s Little Questions

by Chava Tombosky

January 13, 2010 | 8:24 pm

I’ve decided to post random questions that come to mind in certain typical life situations at least once a week that I hope will give people a chuckle and a little somethin’ to think about. Here are a list of questions that have randomly popped into my head during my latest trip. In tribute to the latest flick entitled “Up In the Air”, these are the very issues, they DID NOT address or ponder in that particular movie. I call this essay:

“Up In The Air- questions of a voyage, Issues they did not address or ponder in that particular movie”

I’ve always tried to figure out what flying protocol is when you’re stuck sitting next to the window.

When the flight attendant asks you what you’d like to drink, do you saying nothing with the hope you won’t have to pee and bother the two passengers next to you even though you could really use a cold beer for nerves?

Being you have access to the window shade and play a vital role as the honorary lighting director for your row, a responsibility thrust upon you by the computer randomly assigning you your seat, do you leave the window shade opened or closed?  Maybe the person sitting next to you would like the warm sunshine hitting their face, or maybe watching the earth underneath them will freak them out too much. What if the light outside bothers them and they would rather sleep?

If you’re hoping to stretch cause you were the one stuck sitting furthest from the aisle, is it appropriate to sleep on the person next to you?

And what about bringing gum? Cause I always pack chewing gum so my ears don’t get stuffed on the way up and then accidentally pack it in my carry on I’ve stowed away in the compartment above me. During take off, is it appropriate to force the other two guys out of their seatbelts for my fix of mint? 

And while we’re landing, is it considered impolite to ask the person next to me to hand my trash to the flight attendant?  Should I throw it at her if the guy next to me is sleeping? How do I pass my empty beer can to her then?

These are some of the issues I’ve had with flying. And if the neighbor sitting next to me happens to be wearing a head covering reminiscent of Middle Eastern fashion, do I drink two beers in stead of one?

Do I open my Hebrew prayer book and pray revealing my ethnicity? Or do I pretend I’m totally cool, and I’m a liberated American without any biases at all and talk about “Pareve” topics that have nothing to do with anything political, religious or news worthy?  Do I ignore the fact that everyone on the plane is glaring at this woman and eyeing her Franklin Covey satchel wondering if there’s a hidden weapon hiding inside? I’m the person sitting next to her, so technically I’m responsible to make her feel welcomed.  But I’m also the first person to go if her Satchel is indeed hiding explosives. Let’s say she’s a decent person without any terrorizing agenda and I need to make small talk- what do we talk about? I can’t ask her where she gets her hair done, cause she’s covering it with a scarf, the topic of discussion would have to remain bland. Sometimes I wear scarves, maybe I can ask her where she buys hers and trade our secrets on the best wrapping techniques. Do I ask her where I can buy cumin and spicy Paprika? Do we discuss the latest romantic comedy flick? What if she’s very religious and she doesn’t watch movies at all? Will she be offended if I decide to watch the latest George Clooney flick on the screen imbedded in the seat in front of me?

There are so many issues and no real handbook for any of these answers- that’s it- next time I take the bus, accumulative mileage or not.

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My Big Fat Jewish life blog is featured in The Huffington Post and The Algemeiner Journal as well as The Jewish Journal. Chava has also written for Farbrengen Magazine, Soul...

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