Airline Shpilkes

Posted by: on Mar 22, 2015 | No Comments



Continuing this week’s theme on my latest travel experiences to the Jewish Virgin Islands, let’s chat about my fly down to Florida (as the last 2 posts have been about the flight back to NJ). To begin, let me tell you about one passenger sitting in the emergency exit row.

When you think about the type of person you want to see in the window seat of the emergency exit row, right next to  “that door,” I’m sure we can all agree you want to see some big dude who looks like he can play football and his best friend is his personal trainer. Imagine my uneasiness when I saw grandma Tillie sitting in “that seat” by “that door.”

There she was – grey hair, 75 – 80 years old, looking like she hadn’t the inside of a gym in 20 or 30 years. Was this the person we are supposed to trust to perform the duties necessary in an emergency situation? I’m thinking there should be some regulation about this but what do I know.

Moving to the real topic at hand, I’m sure a few of you are wondering exactly what shpilkes means. Shpilkes is one of those great Yiddish words that I just love and has managed to make it’s way into the modern English language (or so I’d like to think). Literally it means a state of agitation, or the better definition – ants in your pants, but shpilkes sez it so much better. Just ask Linda Richmond.

For the flight down, I had an aisle seat all the way at the back of the plane. The woman next to me in the middle seat, she had shpilkes. From the looks of her, I’m pretty sure if I had said that word to her, she would have had no idea what I was talking about (think a flying insect that stings that is not a bee).

This woman was in constant motion. Reading her paper, watching a movie on her iPad, back to the paper to do the crossword, emptying her entire pocket book, putting it all back, ordered a Bloody Mary, played a game on her iPad, paper, iPad, paper, iPad.  All the while her elbows flailing, clearly in what I would consider “my space.” This woman didn’t need a seat, she needed a booth!

Finally, about 2 hours into the flight, she settled down. I guess the combination of the Bloody Mary and her meds finally kicked in, and her shpilkes went away. In the end, I guess her buzz finally settled down the little buzzer.