The Woman Who Took All the Words

Flew back from Hollywood yesterday and wanted to let you know that if any of you are having trouble speaking today, I know why.

The woman sitting across from me on the plane used up all the words.

She sat with her friend during the flight.  Their husbands sat in a different row.  That should have been a red flag.

She never once shut her mouth.  She talked coming down the aisle, talked when we were awaiting take-off, talked during the take-off, talked during the drink service, talked during landing, talked while we waited to de-board.

And she talked fast, thereby increasing her word consumption rate.

Even more tragic was the fact that none of the words were put to good end.   She was the neighbor who lets her sprinklers run in the rain.

At the end of the flight, as we waited to get off the plane, she complained to her husband that he should not have chosen the seats they were in, because it put them at the back of the plane, and it therefore took too long for them to de-board.  Her husband said he always chose the back because there were less crying babies to annoy them during the flight.  But then he added, “But we had you talking the entire time, so you made up for that.”

I was giddy with joy.

The woman was not.

She glared angrily at her husband.  And then she glared at me, as I was standing directly behind her husband.  And then I did something that surprised even me.

I nodded my head in agreement.

She stared at me,  stunned by my rudeness.

I was a little stunned as well.  Not by my reflexive gesture, but by the fact that her mouth had stopped moving.

Before you judge me, consider this:  I almost high-fived the man.

I’d say more about the fact that I took the moral high road, but I cannot.

Big-mouth took all the words.

52 thoughts on “The Woman Who Took All the Words

  1. ANOTHER example of why I hate and rarely if ever fly…being trapped in a tincan container for hours on end with annoying people like that…
    gags as well as pillows should be offered….or maybe some earplugs……

  2. Did you get off in Philadelphia because I think that woman was at the Phillies game I went to last night. She did not stop talking from before the first pitch up until the last pitch and she talked about everything other than the fact we were watching a pretty entertaining game.

  3. I found this particularly amusing since it comes right after your blog entitled “For Some reason I Wouldn’t Stop Talking” What goes around…

  4. I worked with one of those at my last job. Everytime I was within 20 feet of her, I could feel the air lose oxygen like you do when you climb in elevation. She just sucked all the words and oxygen out of the air. Thats why I think she gave me such a headache.
    WHY, OH WHY, do people do this? Silence in most cases is golden. And talk about nothing, absolutely nothing!
    Way to go Stephan! From a petite “big shouldered broad” to a rude cartoonist, I give you my blessing.

  5. I read a quote once that said “never pass up the opportunity to shut up.” Your head nod was the best thing you could have “said.” You are my hero.

  6. Peese shut mouf wooman!!! Can’t breafe!!!

    I would have started throwing stuff at her. It always works for me. 🙂

  7. Thats great. I have been next to so many people like that; emo LA chicks, obese guys drinking scotch, world of warcraft nerds. I was on a flight to orlando and I was sandwiched between two fat guys going to daytona beach obviously for NASCAR. The most obnoxious part was the fact that they were stealing my armrests and spilling into my seat. They downed 3 scotches each, and the least I can say is that it was horrific.

  8. What a just plain genius moment. Your body knew what to do – that nod is an example God’s way of inserting himself in certain dire situations, God’s way of saying, “Yeah. You do have a rather over-employed cake hole.”

  9. You should have offered the high five to the guy. Remember, he was the poor bastard that had to go home with her, not you. 🙂

  10. Hate to be that guy, but “less crying babies” should be “fewer crying babies”.
    Should have high-fived him, by the way.

  11. Poor husband. At least he’s not so hen-pecked that he just Casper-Miquetoasts himself through the marriage–looking pale and defeated in shorts and black socks.

    Today, I just told someone at whose nasal, Fran-Drescher voice carried her unending cell-phone conversation over the entire sushi-joint, to shut up. I told her that none of us wanted to spend our precious lunch-hour partaking in every uninteresting detail of her life. Nobody else said anything, but they were all visibly annoyed by her. When I said it, other people looked embarrassed, but smiled at me when she asked to be moved away from the seat beside me.

    I pays to be evil sometimes.

  12. They ride buses too. It’s too bad we’re not allowed to pitch them out a window or something.

  13. Haha… I could have easily done the same thing I suppose! Poor guy… He has to live with her.

  14. I’m sensing a new character for an “Angry Bob” story. Or maybe someone for Rat to pound.

  15. That stupid woman!!! I spent the first half of the day like a insipid mime because no words would come. And then when I could speak, I had forgotten what I was going to say. CRAP! At least now I know why….

  16. I admire the forthrightness of the “nod of agreement.” A subsequent high five and a chest bump are a great visual fantasy!

  17. your posts never cease to make me laugh aloud.
    this one was particularly enjoyable.

    happy to read that you are as amusing in real life situations as you can be in the comic strips.

  18. I just called my dad and read him your post – I knew that he would love it too. We should all be so lucky to have such a great forum to share stories like these and vent about the people that we run into on a daily basis! Of course, not all of us write with as much dry humor as you do, so I’m glad you’re doing it instead of me! Keep it up and I hope you had a great time this weekend, despite the results.

  19. I fly as part of my job, and have run into every kind of rude A/H you’ll find…but the ones I hate are “LOUD CELL PHONE TALKERS”- who figure that what they have to say is so important, it can’t wait the hour and a half until they land, and usually are talking about something NOBODY CARES ABOUT (at least if they were planning a world takeover it’d be worth listening too)…I have great respect for Hungarican Stephanie who, speaking for the entire resturant, told the Loud Cell Phone Talker to SHUT THE FXXK UP. Way to go Steph!!!

  20. She could have something wrong with her frontal lobes. That makes it so they literally can’t stop talking.

  21. You should either invent something to make people like this shut up or next time take the shaker o Schadenfreude and shake it whenever she says something 🙂

  22. Pastis, suddenly, I’m reminded of Al Bundy and Married with Children. You just know that poor bastard was a shoe salesman and was in his own little hell. At least he got a little win from your head-nod. You made us NO MA’AMers proud!

  23. Pingback: - No more words

  24. Ah, Ratboy. It is wonderful to find someone else who appreciates the difference between “I” couldn’t stop talking and “She” wouldn’t shut up. Rat’s anthropomorphic misanthropism hinges on a clear understanding of such differences. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Would we?

  25. Very true. Honesty is the best policy, after all. You should get a medal for that.

  26. This was incredible. When I read that you nodded I almost got fired I laughed so loud. Thank you. Those types of people, my God. Thank you.

  27. I met her sister yesterday at the post office. As I was getting out of my car, she was getting out of hers and started talking to me as though we were in mid-conversation. She never shut up throughout the wait in line. She’s a published author; edits manuscripts, blah-blah-blah.

    Oh. No wonder. She lives alone, she works alone. She meets her need for conversation by subjecting complete strangers to details of her life.

    The one thing she didn’t tell me was her name, so I could be sure to avoid reading any of her books.

  28. if you had felt the slightest shred of guilt at nodding your head at ChatterMouth i would have likely never been able to read Pearls again, so shattered my ideal of you would have been.

    thankfully, i can continue reading Pearls now.

    thank you.

  29. Wow, almost rolling on the floor laughing.
    The best flight I’ve ever taken was when they sat me between a group of deaf kids. They could sign as loud as they wanted and it never bothered me. Ahh, the sound of silence.

  30. She sat in front of me during a concert… thankfully security booted her shortly after the opening act 🙂

  31. My first reaction, like Nicole Powers, was “wait. Didn’t Stephan already use all the words when he took a 20 minute interview and stretched it to 60?” But I’m sure you were much, much more entertaining.

  32. the strip about Pig looking for his YiaYia is being sent to my bro who is serving in Afghanistan. We called our grandmother YiaYia, too, she was the coolest lady in the world, and she passed away 3 1/2 years ago. Thanks for that strip.

  33. You should draw a Pearls strip about this: Rat on a plane to somewhere and starting to throw items off the food cart at the blabbermouth in front of him.

    I had an experiance like this once, except that, behind me, one poor man was in the center seat between these two fat ladies who wouldn’t shut up the whole flight. I felt sorry for the poor guy, because they kept chatting right accross from him like he wasn’t even there. He kept sliding down in the seat like he was trying to sneak away from them. I felt even more sorry for him when he needed to go to the restroom, and he couldn’t get them to move because they couldn’t shut their big fat mouths. I suppose some people go on flights expecting us to want to listen to their stupid conversations.

  34. Stephan — Why no headphones?

    BTW — It was great meeting you at the Reuben’s on Saturday. Good times!

  35. You could have went “Danny Donkey” on her so I’d say you conducted yourself in a quite respectable manner

  36. LOL, I hate crying babies too. 🙂 I know how much you hate emoticons too.

  37. Stephen, this is the first time I am reading your blog – delighted to find it. Have been a fan of Pearls for years now. Good to know more of you…

    Your experience reminds me of a recent flight – I was travelling on business and happened to be wearing my employee ID which the elderly gentleman next to me noticed. He had bought some stock in my company and for the next 2 hours I was subjected to non stop questioning on the future of the market – the kind of torture that even the American IRS or the Indian SEBI can only dream of !! I wish we were on the emergency door row – would simply yanked it open and thrown him out !

  38. constant chattering is not attractive in anyone. though that said, i’m as guilty as anyone when i’m catching up with my girls. i just don’t do it in confined, public spaces.

    there was a dude on the amtrak who went on for the entire lunch hour about how accomplished he was as Director of Development and how he never took vacations. i wondered aloud how he had time for any of the women he suggested roundly were after him when he worked 14 hour days and never took vacations, but that was my only contribution to the social interaction there. i didn’t want accidentally to take on a major supporting role in his monologue. cracked up the guy across the table from me, tho.

  39. “Even more tragic was the fact that none of the words were put to good end. She was the neighbor who lets her sprinklers run in the rain.”

    This is such an awesome quote. I’m going to think of it now every time I get stuck around one of these non-stop gabbers.

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