An Immediate Sisterhood.
On a long distance flight, I get up once an hour, and occasionally walk to the end of the plane as most other passengers do. When my husband got up, our neighbor, a tall young woman with luxuriant dark hair, got up and said to me kindly, “Would you like to lie down for a few minutes?” That was very considerate of her, and maybe I also reminded her of her own mother. I gratefully stretched my back along the three seats and relaxed for a few minutes. I could see that she was preoccupied with her own thoughts, so we didn’t talk at all. In a little while we both went to the end of the plane. It so happened that when I just passed a row, one of the men sitting there spilled his drink all,over himself and his companion. Since I inherited my mother’s keen sense of smell I felt that the drink was something rather strong, obviously bought at a duty-free shop. Both men jumped up cursing, one of them blocking the aisle, with my companion unwillingly stopped behind. I stopped too and turned around, to see the ugly bald rather drunk man beginning to leer at her. For a split second I debated calling out to my husband who was sitting way ahead. But this measure might probably result in an emergency landing. So I used the simple method familiar to most mothers and I believe to absolutely all teachers. I tapped the disorderly passenger on his shoulder, and when he turned to me I said, in my teacher’s voice, “Let the lady pass!” He stared, and I gave him the Look – you know, that withering look we all receive through life from our superiors, like parents, teachers, bosses. He began to say something, I shook my head and firmly said, as I have done many a time in the quarter century of teaching, “NOW!” Not yelling of course, just very firmly, with no room for doubt, no thought for questioning. He said feebly, ” What, you can’t go to the toilet without her?” I stared him down. He moved aside. The young woman rushed past, and I stretched out my arm for good measure to safe-guard her. She mouthed “Thank you!” to me. Yes, unfortunately this kind of situation is familiar to any woman. On a plane it is relatively safe and harmless, though it may be quite unpleasant. In a dark alley? No, I won’t go into any such place alone, and I wouldn’t like any young woman to have such an experience. This little episode demonstrated to me yet again that there is indeed an immediate feeling of sisterhood. When one of us finds herself in an unpleasant and/or dangerous situation, another one may be of help, because all of us know what it is to be a woman in this lovely amazing world.


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