Exactly ten months after having left Malta for England, I am now, temporarily, back on The Rock for the summer. It is amazing how much England and my life there mean to me, and I had not realized it myself until the time came to actually leave the country last Tuesday. Call it missing A, call it realization that my life will be so much different when I go back, or call it plain and simple hormones, I ended up arriving at the airport with red eyes, a tear-streaked face and mascara running amok.
Just as soon as I made it to the Departures Lounge, I unofficially met my travel companions. Not officially of course. Just through the course of going round the departure shops, seeing them in small groups, carrying fully-laden Lidl bags, and buying bagfuls of food and drinks for a simple three hour flight. And then there’s their talk. The obligatory loud-voiced conversation, dotted with the compulsory swear words – so typical of us lot. I do as I always do in such situations – lower my head and avoid them like the plague.
And I managed. Up until I entered the plane and took my seat, that is.
I was pleasantly surprised at first because having chosen an aisle seat, I found out no one would be occupying the two other seats next to me. “Just great”, I thought, “I can stretch out, take a nap and rest for a couple of hours”. I made myself comfortable, got my books out and then It happened.
“It” being the arrival of the loudest and rudest Maltese I have ever encountered on a plane flight.
He came in at the last minute and as luck would have it, he was seated right behind me. You see some people and immediately realize what sort of person they are. And seeing him come in, with a white tight vest, stone-washed baggy jeans and carrying the most ridiculous straw hat around his neck, I knew the flight would be anything but relaxing. I was definitely in for a treat.
Because for three hours, three full hours, I was subjected to the loud monologue of the rowdiest person I have ever met on a plane. And I have met my share of ‘interesting’ people – the drunken man with his young son, asking him “Who do we hate Matthias?”, to which the son responded “Valletta City”, the ever-giggling group of women who had visited London for the first time in their life (and let everyone know about that), and the elderly lady trying to point to her husband where their house was during landing. But this gentleman takes the cake.
I learnt his life history. Born and bred in Zurrieq, where he still lives, he married his childhood sweetheart, moved to Australia where he spent four years, had to return because his wife was homesick, has three children – two of whom earn the minimum wage because they never continued their studies, and whose grocery is called “Willows”, named after the factory he worked in in Australia, where he earned good money and managed to save $400 a week (and we’re talking 30 years ago). He does not meet his siblings that much, ever since their parents died, and only does so at a funeral or wedding. Did not vote last weekend for the divorce referendum, and believes the Church should never have issued the apology when it did. And he longs to go to America but fears the long flight.
Can you imagine compulsorily having to hear all this information about someone, from a person you do not know and have no intention of knowing? Ever?! Add to that the most annoying thing ever – his hand slapping against my seat whilst talking. I told him off twice, but that did not stop him, so I had to move to the innermost seat.
Taking into consideration that the flight left at 10pm (England time) and arrived in Malta at 1.30am, it was not the best time of the day to have such a person on board. His rudeness definitely topped the list for me.