Who is the abuser, and who is the abusee?
Normally when video evidence is available, that's a question that's easy to answer. It's always pretty much the guy who jumps the line in the grocery store, hops out of his car with a tire iron at a red light, or craps into his hand to turn some poor Victoria senior's car into a shitmobile.
When it comes to the increasingly inhumane indignity known as airplane travel though, everything is in the eye of the beholder.
First, let's get something out of the way. I'm 6'4" when I'm not in high heels, which is anything but a blessing when getting onto modern airplanes. To maximize profits, the allotted legroom between seats has continued to shrink in recent years, to the point where we've lost an average of three to six inches since the '80s. (We're not even going to bring up the '60s, when double-decker planes had wet bars, piano lounges, buffets, petting zoos, and Caligula-like orgy rooms.)
That means guaranteed misery for those taller than Billy Barty, Hervé Villechaize, and Linda Hunt. The decent ones among us realize that we're all in it together and don't go pawing for the recline button the second a plane's wheels leave the tarmac.
And then there's everyone else.
More than once, I'm not ashamed to admit, I've gotten into running wars with my fellow passengers. There was the dildo on the flight to Paris who stuck his five-year-old in the seat beside him, and then went full-on Lay-z-Boy with his allotted space. I spent eight sardined hours digging my knees into his back through the middle of his seat, going Dallas Cowboys linebacker on the headrest when it was time to hit the galley for a fifth Clamato and vodka, and using maximum torque to force things back into the upright position every time he hit the restroom.
After which he'd return to his seat and recline it all over again.
There's the woman who hit the seatback button 14 seconds into a flight on the way to L.A. even though her feet weren't long enough to touch the floor. And the guy who made opening a laptop, can of pringles, or a ninth premixed Clamato-and-vodka can impossible on a flight to Toronto. And the teen on a Calgary jaunt who kept pushing his seat backward to no avail, clearly convinced that somehow broken, but might recline if he spent an hour trying. Sometimes you get the jump on the person in front of you, and nothing is going to unwedge your knees from where you've planted them.
This brings us to a video that's currently going viral.
In the red corner, we have a Walter White-lookalike in the last row of an American Airlines plane going full-on Muhammad Ali on the headrest in front of him. In the blue corner, a stubborn seat recliner who clearly couldn't care if her fellow passenger punched her seat non-stop on a 17-hour flight from Vancouver to Australia.
Someone is right. And someone is wrong.
If you've sided with the flaming ignoramus, then you deserve what you're going to get the next time you fly commercial.