"I'll just set my things down here...I've got to go powder my nose"
In just over 20,000 miles in the air I've discovered an amazing variety in neighbor passengers. More often than not I'm seated next to a silent traveler, completely interested and involved in his or her own things. Occasionally I'll get someone just the right amount of talkative to make the flight feel considerably shorter. Other times I'm in for an impromptu autobiography.
Sunday was my first flight to or from Los Angeles with any conversation at all. It would have been fine, except for a few basic crossings of the etiquette line and diving into a level far too deep for having just met someone.
I simply don't have the dexterity to recap four hours of conversation with someone in text, so instead we'll hit the highlights and lowlights of passenger Sam's monologue.
- I understand it as universal etiquette to not disturb someone with earbuds in unless sharing some life-altering news. This is most certainly not universal.
- "You computer people have some real goofy terms. GUI (pronounced 'gooey')? You kidding me with that? You'd never hear 'GUI' from a physicist. You know where you would hear that? From a five year old eating lunch."
- "My wife and I used to go riding all the time on my Harley, now all of a sudden she's all hung up and don't want to go with me if I've been drinking. Can you believe that? I'll tell you what else, that's why she says she's leaving me, of course the papers haven't been filed yet...and she's been leaving me since June of last year. 15 years down the drain. I'll tell you what I'll miss the most though, the free concert tickets she got from work."
- [said to flight attendant]: "Yeah, give me two cold ones"
[said to me]: "You may not believe this, but there was a time where I didn't know who was in charge...me or the bottle. So I'll tell you what I did, I picked a month to see if I could go through it without drinking. I thought to myself I'll take February because you know thats a nice, short one. Felt like cheating though, so I went with July...my birthday is in July, and there are barbeques all over town. Made it too.
(cracks open can)
Hey, bottoms up!"
- "Haven't been working in two years. Finally got this job as a building inspector. I'm also becoming a physicist, because I have to in my old age."
- "One day I'll get on a new plane. I'll know it's new too, because I won't see an ashtray in the bathroom. Can you believe they used to have a smoking and non-smoking section on these things? It's a frickin' tube for crying out loud!"
- "About 25 years ago I took my son to Disney World. He was four then...so it couldn't have been 25 years ago, it must have been 23. Yeah, 23 years ago. Anyway he starts crying in the middle of Epcot because Mickey Mouse didn't wave at him...and you know what a kid of four sounds like crying? It's loud, it's like (proceeds to demonstrate lung capacity on crowded airplane). So I told him not to worry, Mickey Mouse waves at everyone, and sure enough he later waved at my son."
- Sam "So what part of LA do you live in?"
Me "I live in Chicago."
Sam "Oh no kidding! What part? Naperville or Schaumburg?" (suburbs, outside city limits)
Me "No, right in the city."
Sam "Oh wow, I thought you said you lived right in Chicago, you know, like Naperville or Schaumburg"
Me "Those are both different cities..."