Joho the BlogThe world's most boring man - Joho the Blog

The world’s most boring man

Yesterday I flew from Boston to Chicago in the window seat of a three-across row. The person next to me, who seemed to be a vigorous man of around seventy, talked non-stop the entire way. Non-stop. He’s done a lot of traveling, he has a lot of opinions.

I saw what was coming and ducked out quickly, donning a head set and pretending to work and listen to music. But I felt terrible for the woman in the aisle seat who absorbed the blunt force of the man’s self-absorbed river of spews. I wondered if I should make up an excuse for her or engage him in “conversation” so she could have a break. But I lacked the fortitude. Besides, she’s a grownup — maybe in her late forties — and should know how to break it off politely.

So, here’s the twist ending. It’s not exactly O. Henry, but…

About two hours in, the man went to the bathroom. I leaned over and asked the woman if she was ok.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“He hasn’t stopped talking. Omigod!”

“I’m enjoying it.”

Maybe I would have thought so if I had been willing to listen. Maybe I missed an opportunity.

On the other hand, as we were leaving the plane, the man skipped ahead. “You’re a nice person,” I said to the woman. And the woman directly behind her said, “And how!” [Tags:]

22 Responses to “The world’s most boring man”

  1. Now, on the other hand, a couple of years ago, I wound up being able to sit next to a colleague in the first row of first class (we used miles to upgrade to the last two first class seats), and we had a 7-hour conversation that was just a lot of fun. She is Italian, of course, and I’m Jewish, so our ethnic traits met in the middle.

  2. I think I sat beside him on a flight from Sydney to LA once. He talked for hours and hours, explaining how everything on the plane worked. I’m not sure if he knew what he was talking about, but he was convincing despite being annoying.

    Convincing enough that as we approached the runway at LAX and the wing flaps did whatever they do, the know-it-all looking out the window and casually observing, “I think something’s wrong,” was enough to make all of us pretending not to listen around him panic until we touched down.

  3. Glenn, I too have had the non-stop delightful conversation experience. But this guy did all the talking and the parts I heard were really really not interesting – broad generalizations about his travels, etc.

    Steve, I think maybe there’s a fleet of them wandering the globe…

  4. Last semester, one team of students in my design research class chose as their topic “managing your private space in public” and looked at lots of neat stuff like the zones people created around them when using their laptops in the park, uses of sunglasses and headphones, etc. Then they conducted some interviews and they asked one man “how do you keep people from talking to you on an airplane?” and he looked at them and said “I LIKE talking to people on an airplane.”

    I thought that was one of the best learning moments in the whole semester; that their presumptions around user needs were so handily debunked by talking to a real person.

    Tangential to but inspired by your story :)

  5. This is nothing compared to the buy low sell high guy I was sitting in front of on the way from Portland to Spokane a few weeks ago. I was inconveniently out of both battery and reading material for the last hour of this flight, to which I was subjected to this guy repeating no less than two dozen times various stocks which he had bought low and sold high. He then continued to espouse that being rich was quite simple, so long as you bought low and sold high. I think the woman’s next conversation was going to be with a stock broker since this guy made it sound so easy. I have my doubts about his wealth, though ;).

  6. David, aren’t you supposed to be the expert on conversations? Surely for you to meet such a man could only have been an undivided pleasure! (Obligatory Airplane quote: “And stop calling me Shirley!”)

  7. Health

  8. Healthcare, United Healthcare,Discover with UnitedHealthcareCigna Healthcare,View the CIGNA Government ServicesActna Us Healthcare,some commentsGe Healthcare,Information on Yahoo!Great West Healthcare,your Great-West Healthcare benefits.Apria Healthcare,Apria Healthcare Group RankTvco Healthcare,(TVCO) project promoting healthcareTenet Healthcare,Healthcare Jobs,Aurora Healthcare,Add to Google Reader!.Maxim HealthcareMaxim Healthcare,Healthcare Partners,Baxter Healthcare,healthcare.for you. At BaxterCatholic Healthcare,Add to My MSN!Maxim Healthcareemory Healthcare,Kindred Healthcare,Kindred Healthcare Home PageCoventry Healthcare,Add to My AOL!Maxim HealthcareGenesis Healthcare,Welcome to Genesis HealthCareMolina Healthcare,Provides managed healthcare Interim Healthcare,

  9. Women, American Woman, woman Bodybuilding, Black magic woman, Wonder Woman, Working Woman, Woman history, Famous woman, Sports woman, Indian Woman, Cat woman, Perfect woman, Women cloth,

  10. click point,Sound Click, Click 2 Houston,Click On Detroit,Click Five,Point And Click Games,Click The City,Pay Per Click,Click Mexicana,1 Click Dvd,Gueer Click,Click Forensics,No Right Click Html,Click Movie,One Click Dvd,Click Fraud,Online Point And Click Games,Click 2 News Houston,Connection Settings Click Security Menu,Click Bank,Auto Mouse Click Program,

  11. Health

  12. My first boss in a business job, an ex-IBM computer guy, told me, as he was grooming me to be a jet setting executive (1978), “I never talk to anybody on a plane trip. It’s just mental clutter I can do without. I stay focused on the client and the job I need to do.”

    I agree with him to this day. Not being anti-social, just anti-clutter.

    I think super chatty types talk so much because they are insecure in their opinions and life, they wish to dominate and domineer, and they crave attention to establish the fact that they exist.

    Composer Iannis Xenakis said he only feels real and existing when he is creating something new. That’s a better idea, IMHO.

    I relate to this story so much. Thanks for sharing it, and for giving me terrific advice via email on API promotion to dev comm.

    You and Chris Locke will be getting an Executive Summary of my findings when I’m done.

    ;^)

  13. I don’t particularly like talking to people on planes either, but I think that is mainly because I don’t know them. I’ve been slowly learning over my (relatively) few years that usually if you take the time to listen to someone you will learn something. Hey if the worst comes to the worst you will be no better off, but you probably just made someone’s day…

    I take the points about not cluttering your mind or wasting time that could be spend more effectively etc, but if you are on the plane with nothing else to do and the guy or gal next to you wants to chat. Just think of it as a gift to your fellow man.

    James

  14. Haha!

    http://islandphilosophy.blogspot.com

  15. I don’t particularly like talking to people on planes either, but I think that is mainly because I don’t know them. I’ve been slowly learning over my (relatively) few years that usually if you take the time to listen to someone you will learn something. Hey if the worst comes to the worst you will be no better off, but you probably just made someone’s day…

    I take the points about not cluttering your mind or wasting time that could be spend more effectively etc, but if you are on the plane with nothing else to do and the guy or gal next to you wants to chat. Just think of it as a gift to your fellow man.

    James

  16. With all the devices we have to seal us off from distractions these days, I think it’s refreshing when we are “trapped” in an environment where we must act civil and relate to our fellow man. Dale Carnegie highlighted the fact that one of man’s greatest needs is to be heard. That requires someone to listen.

    In a sea of mostly tedious conversation, I have to admit that some of my most interesting moments have been hours of conversation with individuals sitting next to me – completely random selection, serendipity. While I found some of these people to lead fascinating lives, most were more conventional (boring).

    I view such times as practice for my listening skills, which come in handy later when engaged in voluntary social mixing at a party. To be a good listener involves good interview skills, the art of guiding a conversation with gentle questioning. That’s a skill we all could develop more – what better place than in an airplane with a stranger?

  17. With all the devices we have to seal us off from distractions these days, I think it’s refreshing when we are “trapped” in an environment where we must act civil and relate to our fellow man. Dale Carnegie highlighted the fact that one of man’s greatest needs is to be heard. That requires someone to listen.

    In a sea of mostly tedious conversation, I have to admit that some of my most interesting moments have been hours of conversation with individuals sitting next to me – completely random selection, serendipity. While I found some of these people to lead fascinating lives, most were more conventional (boring).

    I view such times as practice for my listening skills, which come in handy later when engaged in voluntary social mixing at a party. To be a good listener involves good interview skills, the art of guiding a conversation with gentle questioning. That’s a skill we all could develop more – what better place than in an airplane with a stranger?

  18. I’m all for the common man, I’m reading Joan Baez “Daybreak” autobio, I listen to Dylan and Pete Seeger when I can. And Leadbelly.

    But I say, we got too much mind noise from mediocre drivel geysers. I see it in blogs and I hear it in plane trips.

    Download tutorials to your laptop, cell phone, iPod, and increase your worth to your company and career. Listen to podcasts of smart bloggers and other micro marketing mavericks, learn more PHP, HTML, CSS, XML, AJAX, COBOL, C++, and User Centered Design. Read books by classic authors, philosophers, business leaders, etc.

    Then and only them will you get your mocha latte and cookie.

  19. Night Vision, Night Vision Binoculars,With the proper night-vision equipmentNight Vision Scopes,Offers night vision binocularsNight Vision Cameras,Night Vision Googles Night visionItt Night Vision,Night Vision Yahoo (NVG)Night Vision Glasses,High spec night vision technologyNight Vision Camcorder,Modules for CamcordersNight Vision Devices,High quality optical devicesNight Vision Security Cameras,security camera equipmentAnt Night Vision,A lot of us would likeBushnell Night Vision,monocularsNight Owl Night Vision,Complete Darkness with Night OwlYukon Night Vision,manufacturers of YukonNight Vision Optics,variety of day-time opticsNight Vision Rifle Scopes,Supplier of night vision deviceNight Vision Equipment, the most complete selectionUs Night Vision,US Army and Electronic Sensors Directorate Cheap Night Vision,Technology productsNight Vision Gear,Hard to find spy camerasRussian Night Vision,Russian made night visionLitton Night Visionfeaturing unrivaled Litton Night Vision

  20. you people are fat retards

  21. you people make out like your all socially inept.
    Whats your problem?Its life,take it as it comes or drop out with the help of paracetamol and a bottle of wine.

    Its a conversation.
    No need to write a blog about it.

    By the way, im 14 but i feel i am far more cultered and have a much more forfilling life than most of yours.

  22. texas holdem pokerset…

    Fill roulette online video poker classic jugar omaha poker en linea aprender a jugar poker malette de jeu de poker…


Web Joho only

Comments (RSS).  RSS icon