Be nice to odd people

Be nice to odd people

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

If you look up the word “odd” in the dictionary, you’ll find the following definition: “Differing in nature from what is ordinary, usual or expected.” Of course, most odd people don’t know they’re odd because they don’t know what is ordinary, usual or expected. Trust me. They really don’t.  
My husband and I were on an airplane together last week. We sat next to a woman who brought a large bag of grated cabbage onto the plane. Yes. A bag of cabbage. If you’ve never flown on an airplane, there’s something you need to know. It’s a very confined space and odors become far more profound because there’s no place for the odors to go. We had barely taken off when she tore into the bag and began to eat the raw cabbage with her bare hands. In fact, she meticulously ate the entire bag of cabbage and then licked her fingers and went back into the bag to get the remaining slivers. The entire airplane smelled like sauerkraut.
After all the cabbage had been consumed, she threw the empty plastic bag into her tote bag and got out some tiny scissors. As most of you know, there are serious restrictions about what can be carried onto a commercial airplane. A pocket knife? No way. Fireworks? Not gonna happen. Sewing scissors? Absolutely not. But small manicure scissors are still allowed on flights. I mean, how much mayhem can anyone really cause with a small pair of manicure scissors, right? Wrong.
To our dismay, the woman took out the scissors and began to cut her hair. Yep! She gave herself a full-fledged haircut right there in the window seat of 17F with my husband and me staring in disbelief. She began loudly snipping her long locks. Wisps of hair began flying through the air. Phil was sitting right next to her in the middle seat. He glanced at me calmly as if to silently say, “Is it just me or is it not appropriate to cut one’s hair in row 17 of a Delta 757?”  
Maybe the following sign needs to be posted in every commercial airplane: “This is a crowded airplane and some basic rules of life apply here. Please don’t eat a whole bag of shredded cabbage and please don’t give yourself a haircut. Thank you for flying with us.”
But that sign is never going to be posted. It’s not going to be posted because there’s a general assumption that people just know not to eat cabbage or cut their hair on an airplane. But that’s the great mystery. Odd people don’t know. They don’t know what’s socially acceptable. They forget to question their natural impulses. And speaking of natural impulses, by the end of the flight, that bag of cabbage had produced a whole slew of other “natural” impulses which I shall not address in this column.
Every day you and I make contact with odd people. Every day we scratch our heads and wonder why they do the things they do. I can’t explain it. But I do know that all people need kindness. Maybe that’s the point.  
Oh, and for those of you who graphically use toothpicks in public? Yeah. Don’t throw stones, brother. Don’t throw stones.
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For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com. She may be contacted at lisa@lisasmartt.com.

Published in The Messenger 5.8.13

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