The plane was four and a half hours of hell. Crammed in like a can of sardines, four rows of us hapless passengers got to listen to the Loudest Family in The Galaxy, or perhaps in The Universe. There are still so many unknown galaxies waiting to be discovered so who knows there may a galaxy of aliens who communicate only in sonic booms, then it would be a tie for the title.
The two horrible children and their worse parents were right behind me, of course, which seems only fair since I was most likely the Jonah of this arc. In the first hour, the wretched lot of us exchanged annoyed glances at each other.
By the second hour annoyed had advanced to anguished as we realized we had an eternity of remaining hours, held captive in this cacophony. Since my noise-canceling headphones couldn't compete with the Loudests I asked a flight attendant if she by chance had any earplugs. She actually scrounged up a pair and brought them to me like a heavent sent angel of mercy.
I scrunched the foam into a small roll and shoved them in as far as my finger could reach. Noise decreased as foam expanded like morphine.
By the last hour my hellmates were making suicide pacts with each other as I sat there with earplugs embedded in my cochlea. Yes, it hurt like a mofo and maybe permanently damaged my hearing but I've come to think of that as a good thing.