Coexist Or Duke It Out?

     It’s getting to be time to decide:

     This is happening right now and the lady sitting next to me is glaring daggers while making passive aggressive comment[s] under her breath
     I have a 8 hour flight with a short connection. The 1st flight only served a small cracker pack and the 2nd will be the same.
     During the connection, I only had barely enough time to run from one end of the airport to the other.
     Once I got to my connecting gate, I found out I had enough time to order food but not eat it.
     I checked with the gate agent to see if I can bring food onboard and she happily reassured me that I could. I went and got a burger, fries, and a drink.
     When I was allowed to put the tray down, I did and started to eat. This is when the lady sitting next to me told me she doesn’t eat meat and the smell of my burger and fries are making her sick.
     At 1st I ignored her and kept on eating but she complained louder.
     I told her I bought the food after checking with the gate agent and I’m hungry so she’s out of luck.
     She called the flight attendant and was told that I’m well within my rights to eat food that was bought at the airport.
     I know I’m right when it comes to the airline rules but the food is pungent in an enclosed area and she’s still glaring at me so am I an AH?

     I know, I know: vegetarians can be self-righteous and unbearably pushy about their preferences. But this is an important case for reflection. Was the aroma of that burger making the protesting woman sick – not just offended, envious, or wistful for better days? How could anyone know unless she started barfing in the aisle? Who is required to give way?

     Coexistence questions are like that. In some cases, they involve life-threatening conditions, Consider allergies to peanuts, which are becoming more common. Even proximity to peanuts or peanut butter can touch off shock in the afflicted person. But the case above is a more severe test.

     The airlines have already acted on the peanut allergy. I don’t expect them to institute vegetarian-only flights. Nor will I say that omnivores must give way before the preferences of vegetarians. What, then, is the proper resolution? Rearrange the seating assigned? Provide the “offended” party with a gas mask? Or just tell her to “suck it up?”


     Let’s imagine that some airliner’s staff succeeds in defusing a situation like the one above. Let’s imagine further that no feathers are permanently ruffled by the incident or its resolution. There would still be a downside. News of the offended person’s protest would spread. The tactic would be used to disrupt other flights – in some cases purely for the pleasure some people take from disrupting others’ lives. Worse yet, if such incidents were to multiply, the FAA might get involved through its regulatory function.

     Interpersonal clashes that expand to involve the uninvolved are like that. The fabricated externality is a source of bad feeling and bad consequences. Coexistence, even when it involves bearing something unpleasant for a time, is almost always preferable in the long run.

     But some groups are absolutely unable to coexist. Some are absolutely unwilling to make the attempt. And some have agendas absolutely incompatible with amicable coexistence:

     Our hyper-contentious era knows many such cases. Sometimes separation will work to eliminate the conflict. When the agenda of the activist group cannot be accommodated by such a measure, there’s a real problem. When the inner agenda of the group is to provoke an intervention by government, the difficulty is insurmountable. This is especially the case when “rights” are involved.

     Note how frequently – close to inevitably – such groups couch their demands as “rights” that others must honor. This is why clarity of language matters so much to me. Unfortunately, those who find such clarity an impediment to their schemes are currently in the ascendant.

     If there’s a stronger indicator that our nation is headed for Balkanization, I can’t think of it at the moment. Indeed, the process is already under way. Note the patterns of moment among the fifty states.

     There isn’t much more to say about this. I’ve said what I think must be said. I’m not Solon of Athens. On reflection, I think I’m happy about that. If there were a Solon among us, the Establishment would have him assassinated.

     George Alec Effinger, where are you when we need you?


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    • Tractorguy on December 20, 2022 at 8:31 AM

    No, you’re not an AH. She is. If she wants to live her life that way, that’s her choice, exactly as eating meat is your choice. As a good friend of mine likes to say, “How do you tell if someone’s a vegan? Answer: THEY’LL TELL YOU.”

    • Bear Claw on December 20, 2022 at 8:50 AM

    You screwed up, you failed to offer her a bite if she was that hungry.
    I see that coexist bumper sticker and I just want to rant at them to go live in those muslim shitholes if they want to coexist with them.

    • Big Crow on December 20, 2022 at 9:13 AM

    I would have recommended she go use the bathroom for the 40 seconds it takes to eat a burger, evidently she needed to move her bowels being that full of it.

    • Dan on December 20, 2022 at 10:39 AM

    People intending on ruling others have no interest in coexistence.  

    • Steve S6 on December 20, 2022 at 11:02 AM

    You can’t coexist with those that want you dead.
    Hand her a covid mask. If they can stop a virus surely they can stop the larger particles giving rise to her intolerance. Oh and generating some deadly flatus during the flight would now be appropriate.
    Steve S6

    • Steve on December 20, 2022 at 11:18 AM

    Oh boy, does this incident strike a chord with me on a very personal level! When I first met the Mrs. we got invited to a Christening and the family of the newborn was off the boat from Bavaria. There was a cook out at their home afterwards and the grill was full of imported sausages of all stripes, everything from veal to venison and a large number of home made sides! Add the imported beer the grandparents got shipped over for the event and my mouth was watering like Pavlov’s dog! 
    Anyway, after receiving a plateful of grilled goodness from our hosts, I grabbed a seat at a picnic bench and began to carve up my food. Just then, an emaciated twerp with a plate full of salad comes and sits down across from me and says “Hi” is lisping tone with a somewhat twisted smile on his face. I simply nod at him and go back to my food. “Do you know what actually goes into the making of those sausages?” my first thought was “How the f&*k do I always manage to attract these people?!?” heading him off at the pass, I fix him with a nasty look and say “I really don’t care and I’d like to be left alone. I don’t know you, more importantly, I don’t want to know you.” I lift a forkful of sausage to my mouth and he reaches across the table and places his hand on mine, saying, “No, you don’t understand, I’m trying to help you. Your health is at stake.” 
    All I saw was red and I was about to come unglued, when I heard the future Mrs. and her friend Steph call out, “No Michael, not him! Go sit somewhere else!” The Mrs. took his hand off of mine while Steph yanked him away from the table and ran him off to another bench. The hosts came over and apologized profusely over this twerps behavior. I had only been off of active duty for ten months and I saw still “salty”, so I asked the hosts if they wanted him “taken care of”. They chuckled and basically said no, although the wife admitted it was a tempting offer. All the while I could hear said twerp ranting along alone at the bench where he was dumped. I asked the future Mrs. who the twerp was and she told me that he watches the house sometimes for the couple and he doesn’t understand boundaries.
    That last part right there is a major issue with too many people in this country, they don’t understand, or care about other peoples boundaries. Add in the fact that he believed he was “helping” me and this reveals another facet of the psychosis of people like him. I was raised in a way that if you are a guest at someones home, you always mind your manners and you never open your mouth. Even if asked something that you don’t wish to speak about.  You simply say, “Forgive me, but I’d rather not comment on that as it would be impolite.”, very few understand this anymore, which is why we cannot coexist with people such as the one above and the one our host bumped into on his flight. Nor should we. Merry Christmas!

    1. That was quite an episode. When I read this part:

      That last part right there is a major issue with too many people in this country, they don’t understand, or care about other peoples boundaries.

      …It got me thinking along another track.

      It’s a common sort of observation that the very people who fail to respect your boundaries are absolute death on anyone who might fail to respect theirs. They grant themselves a passport founded on their belief in their moral and intellectual superiority. I’ve known a few, and my most frequent mutter when I have to deal with one is “I’ll plead justifiable homicide. I’ll subpoena everyone who knows him. The jury will have to let me off.”

      What I really want to know is what malign entity is breeding them. Their numbers have increased too swiftly for them to be anything but the products of a “malgenics” program in progress. Maybe if we can locate the lab, we can have it nuked.

      1. Lack of proper breeding is more likely. It seems nobody is taught the value of the Golden Rule anymore.

    • Alex Lund on December 20, 2022 at 1:13 PM

    If we do nothing, then the other side will make a big affair of it and to avoid bad publicity the airline will comply with THEM.
    But unfortunately we can do nothing OPENLY, because the cops will arrest us, if we would behave like THEM.
    And, another unfotunately: nearly everybody has a smartphone 99,99% of the time on his body.
    And while the cops are too stupid to look at the data which smartphone was in the vicinity of a black on white assault
    (or in Germany:an old person /parent gets a call that the child committed a crime and either the family pays some money to a “cop” who will come to the house or the relative will be prosecuted. Or a criminal calls a person, pretends to be the child and wants some money sent. It is called the Enkeltrick ala grandchild trick. According to an article the call centers who make the majority of calls are in Turkey. And they have some people in Germany who go to the house and clasim to be a cop.)
    they are intelligent to look at the smartphone location if a white defends himself.

    • Steve on December 20, 2022 at 1:51 PM

    Maybe if we can locate the lab, we can have it nuked.” From orbit of course, it’s the only way to be sure!
    With regards to your point about them breeding too quickly to be normal; I completely agree, perhaps it’s something in the water? 

  1. I feel it past time.
    I have never been able to back down to diffuse a situation.  And I have no intention of starting now.
    Not having flown since the advent of the tsa, eating on a plane will never come up in my life.  But in daily life, the wife keeps  a close eye on me and who approaches me.  She tries her best to head these kinda things off.
    They want us to die.

    1. My wife is much the same. After 31 years of living with my Irish temper, she’s become reflexively protective…of the idiots who might trigger me!

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