Breaking up Isn't Hard to Do

Breaking up isn’t that hard to do, apparently. At least that’s the impression that I’ve developed after being stuck twice in a matter of days on transportation with a couple breaking up. If that sounds like an awkward situation to be in, you don’t know the half of it.

The first incident occurred on an airplane. After I took a window seat, an attractive young yuppy woman asked if the seats next to me were taken. I said no, so she and her equally attractive young yuppy boyfriend sat beside me. They were both engrossed in their fancy phones long after they were told to turn them off until a flight attendant intervened. The boyfriend rudely dismissed her, but she stood her ground and he complied when he was good and ready, but not before making an irritated groan.

Shortly after taking off, the discussion began.

“So are we going to talk about this morning?” she asked.
“Not unless you want to apologize,” he said.
“I’m not apologizing, you’re too sensitive.”
“You don’t respect me!”
“I do respect you!”
“It’s not respectful to call me pathetic.”
“Look, it’s not just me, all my friends call you pathetic, too.”
“I don’t care what your friends think!”
“Fine. I won’t call you pathetic anymore.”
“It’s not just calling me pathetic, I don’t want you to think I’m pathetic.”

And so on. They went back and forth for about half an hour; the conversation was peppered with “Are we breaking up?” Sure sounded like it to me. I wanted to not listen to the argument, but I was trapped beside it. Toward the beginning of their disagreement, they kept looking over at me annoyed that I was eavesdropping, as if it were my fault that they chose this location with me strapped adjacently. Feeling uncomfortable, I finally closed my eyes and pretended to sleep just to avoid eye contact.

My favorite part is when she abruptly halted the argument to say, “I’m done, I’m going to read!” just before taking out and slowly looking through about fifty wordless cards bound together of a model wearing the same dress in slightly different poses. I’m not sure what you’d call that, but it’s probably not “reading.”

Once we landed and it was time to disembark, the boyfriend stood up in the aisle and started playing with his phone again. As soon as planes land, passengers have one objective: getting off the plane as quickly as possible. Boyfriend, meanwhile, blocked the aisle while he typed a message. His girlfriend encouraged him to move along and he screamed at her to shut up and added that “these fuckers can wait.”

I hope they end up staying together; no one else should date them.

A few days later, I was on a train with my friend Joan. Behind us sat an ugly, trashy meth-addicted couple. Their conversation started out decently enough. She had made thirty dollars before and succeeded at only spending ten on booze the night before, mainly because she knew he would “hit” her if she did. He was still upset that she had spent ten, but he said it was okay, because he remembered he had store credit at some store where they could score some cigarettes. She practically swooned – what a provider.

After they made out in an obscene fashion, he pulled a 180 and yelled at her for talking to some guy at the phone at 5 am. That phone call wasn’t anything, she swore. He accused her of cheating and she couldn’t deny it, but did claim that she loves him still. Tears were shed and he told her that it was over. He still loved her, but from now on he was going to have to “love [her] from a distance.”

Fortunately, we arrived at our stop and I didn’t have to suffer any more of this.

Dear couples: get a room! And break up in privacy.

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