Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Story from Seat 23 E

I thought I would come back from Key West with tons of stories, but what I really came back with is a journalistic description of each day.

You don't want to read that, do you?

So, I'll give you this....

On the flight from Atlanta to Miami, there were quite a few interesting passengers. David sat on the aisle seat, I sat in the middle, and then a young man of unknown descent and in his early twenties sat by the window. I gave him a hard glance and observed his scruffy beard, his unkempt and unwashed dark hair, a dark blue Gap sweatshirt, with the hood up on a warm day and we were headed for Miami (very suspicious, don't you think?). So, that I could testify later -- I paid attention.

I always have to sit in the middle. *whines a little*

I am also considerate of those around me.

I asked the young man one question:

Me: You got enough room?
Young man: Yes. [in foreign accent]

As we waited for the plane to take off.....

He fooled with his backpack a lot.
He moved it around. He adjusted it.
He did not open it, but he kept it next to him.
He made sure his feet and legs kept it secured at his feet.
He shut his eyes.

As we settled into the flight,

I read my July 27, 2009 New Yorker.

I read “At the Train Bridge” about a man who was so angry at the world that he shot three teenagers to death at a swimming hole in Wisconsin. Sad. Tragic. And he was without remorse.

I glanced at my fellow passenger. Still playing possum. Feet and legs clenched around backpack. One fisted hand held the strap on the backpack; the other lay ready to help if needed.

I read “The Kindest Cut” which analyzed why some people donate kidneys to people they don’t know. In this reporter’s opinion, the donation can be either altruistic, selfish, or unexplainable. Several of the stories where the donors matched with the recipient online were both disturbing and heart warming. I don’t know how to explain it.

The flight attendant came by with her offerings of peanuts and soft drinks.

Young man never opened his eyes to acknowledge her. David and I put down the tray tables, munched a little, and I continued to read, finishing the long articles about organ donations.

I looked at the terrorist next to me.
I glanced at his backpack. He had it secure, and then he moved his hands toward it.

He began to fumble around in his backpack. First one place, then another. He avoided my eyes. I avoided his seeing me avoid his eyes.

I drew a breath.



He pulled out one of those neck pillows, a pink one, in fact, and placed it behind his neck..

I elbowed David who had flipped through a Sky magazine but had since closed his eyes.

David: Whut?
Me: Shhh. [whispering] See, he’s not a terrorist.
David: What are you talking about?
Me: Never mind.
David: *rolls his eyes*

This is how our marriage is -- I never said this to David, but I thought he would know what I was thinking anyway. He didn’t.

He should have; I was kind of scared.

Only not.

It’s just the kind of thing I do to entertain myself when I travel. It passes the time, and the ideas I come up with are quite entertaining to me, but never to David. This is why our marriage is perfect.


Then, I read “Michael Jackson’s Moves.” This entertainment reviewer came to the conclusion that it was Michael Jackson’s dancing that made him such a great performer. In his later years, she noted, he became embarrassing as he made videos that were heavy on “self-aggrandizement” and others on “self-pity.” She was happy to see that two days before his death -- he was strutting, snapping, popping, and dancing. I thought she made a good point. It was Michael Jackson’s dancing that set him apart from other performers. As I said before, I found “Thriller” period videos mesmerizing.

Then the plane landed in Miami.

And my seat partner disappeared into the Miami crowd with his pink neck pillow…. probably stuffed with something illegal. I had read an article not too long ago about people smuggling baby exotic reptiles into the country.

*thumps self in head*

He was a smuggler.

But. Wait. He was coming from Atlanta to Miami. Not from Miami to Atlanta.

Never mind.


BTW: Jessica, I know you will ask me. That picture was taken in Key West. I posted it because I don't have a picture of the plane or the guy sitting next to me. *tee hee*