It’s her first time going home, and you can tell. She made sure to wear her Georgetown sweatshirt, her suitcase is much bigger than it needs to be for a few days at home and she gives off a general air of confusion that lets you know she’s a little overwhelmed. Once she reaches her seat, she’ll throw on her headphones and whip out a giant book, as if she thinks Thanksgiving break is actually a good time to get homework done. When she wakes up at the end of her trip, she’ll realize what a poorly thought-out plan that was.
The Old Man
Maybe he’s traveling to see his kids, or maybe he’s returning from a business trip, but there will always be a slightly lonely old man who tries to talk to you. Sometimes he’s sweet, inquiring about the sticker on your laptop or how excited you are to eat your mom’s food again, but other times he’s a little self absorbed and looking for someone to pontificate to. He might give you unsolicited career, educational or personal advice, so watch out. In general, old men travelling with their wives are a little more cheery and less didactic than their solo peers.
These young professionals who find the word “yuppie” a little dated will be in migration this season as they return home for some holiday cheer, but with a general aura of dread. Maybe they’re headed to the airport/train station right after work, and they’re still rocking the business-casual look. If you sit next to one, expect him to not look up from his laptop or iPhone as he tries to look as busy as possible. Should you happen to engage this species in conversation, they’ll tell you all about their college years and abruptly end the conversation to return to a “really important project.”
No one wants to travel with children, who tend to get antsy after sitting still for five minutes. They’ll have brought books, candy and games to try to keep their unruly offspring occupied, but it probably won’t work. The group will hastily run around, inevitably late because of their children’s shenanigans, and there may be more than one crying child. Although parents will be annoyed at the kids for most of their journey, you’ll get to smile at some cute babies and chat with some precocious 4-year-olds. When they annoy you, just turn up the volume and give thanks for Steve Jobs.
The Stuck-Up Girl
The moment she has her Vera Bradley duffel stored safely away, she will plop down next to you with a scowl on her face. Like you, she won’t be able to stop messaging people, but it’s probably to complain about how lame this trip is. On her laptop she’ll watch multiple episodes of “Gossip Girl” or a Katherine Heigl romcom, but she’ll never crack a smile. Should you make eye contact, don’t expect any sort of acknowledgement or joy — you’ll forget for a moment that you’re heading home for a good reason. You’re best off avoiding conversation and nodding off.