Monday, July 20, 2009

Airplane Rides

I always have the most interesting plane rides... or maybe my innate ability to people watch and analyze their physical cues just makes plane rides more interesting for me. Like my flight from England to Dulles... (wow, Dulles sucks!) There was a young girl, very pretty but slightly duncecapp'ed with a Carrie Underwood charm to her sat between me and an older gentleman. You could tell he was slightly enamored... he was asking her questions the entire flight, even while she fiddled with her headphones talking about her anticipation for the in-flight entertainment... needless to say, they were my in-flight entertainment.

As for my flight from DC to SF, I was pretty sure we were going to be punished by the stewardess... I mean, flight attendants. I believe we were taxi'ing from the gate and a few passngers still had their cell phones out when this message blasted from the PA: "Excuse me, all electronic devices including cell phones must be stowed! If you cannot do this, it will delay us, I will have to restart the emergency message, we'll lose our place in line for takeoff, and we won't leave on time! So please make sure all your belongings are put away!" Scaaarrrryyyyyy...

But the flight itself was pleasant. I sat between a BioTech marketer and semi-conductor engineer. The engineer was obviously interested in the Canadian brunette marketer... I crushed his dreams and asked if she was married to which she said "Yes! He's amazing, I love him so much..." Mr. Semi-Conductor got really quiet for a few moments. However the 3 of us still managed to spend a good four hours chatting. We started out of course with the inane small talk (oy, small talk.. it can be the lubricant to deeper social discourse or it can just be useless) so I actually closed my eyes for part of it. Then we started to talk about more interesting things... we covered everything from marriage, religion, history, education, psychology, therapy, love, travel, etc. I love deep conversations with strangers. It is probably one of my favorite things about travel: You get an endless supply of strangers and therefore an eternity of various topics to discuss and hash over... at the end of the day, you can choose to keep that stranger as a friend or move along, and just be thankful for the new views and company of a life-passerby.

One of my favorite travel moments was actually on a plane. I was on my way home from Rome and was seated next to a 5'5", 40-something man with Alan Thicke-textured light brown hair. We started talking about our travels at first and he started buying ourselves glasses of wine. He wasn't a fan of planes and actually gets drunk for every flight to help him pass out. He ended up giving me some of the most endearing and important advice of my life. While in a bit of a drunken, reminiscent stupor of a past Brazilian love and the pink dolphins they watched together along the Amazon river, he said this to me: "If the two of you together are better than the sum of your parts... that's when you know it's good."

It took me a few years, but I finally know what he means by that.

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