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Flying home yesterday, I had the pleasure of briefly thinking that no one was going to sit in the middle seat next to me because they were now closing up the airplane’s doors. Yes! Yes! Yes! It never happens anymore and yet, there it was—an empty living, breathing seat between me and the young, heavyset woman in the window seat.

“Can you believe it?” I said.

“Yeah, right!” she said. Not the language that I would have used, but nevertheless a response.

I could stretch out, put my pile of books and magazines in the middle and throw my leg over as far as I wanted! As my elation escalated a man suddenly appeared from the back of the plane and practically jumped over me into the middle seat. No way! I thought. How can this happen?

“I just gave my seat to a guy so he could sit next to his girlfriend,” he announced to me.

“That’s nice,” I said, gritting my teeth.

Then he turned to his left and said to the window seat woman, “Are you afraid to fly? I can hold your hand.” She laughed and laughed. Well, he was young and good-looking. And she was clearly someone who had navigated and enjoyed flirty territory. I thought it was nice that he was flirting with her because she wasn’t very attractive.

“No, I mean it,” he said. She laughed and pulled her red Delta loaner blanket tighter around her very large chest.

He then turned back to me. “What part of flying do you like best?”

“Landing,” I said very matter-of-factly.

“That’s very funny,” he said, smiling at me. He really did think I was funny and he paused like he was going to file that line in his brain somewhere to use in a similar situation.

He talked to the red blanket lady a little more. He practically whispered in her ear. It was a bit too close for strangers, but she seemed comfortable. I didn’t feel the need to call a flight attendant for help on her behalf.

Later, when we hit some turbulence, he asked her again if she wanted to hold his hand. She laughed it off and leaned against the seat, trying not to look nervous even though I could tell she was not a good flyer.

I’ll give her credit for handling Mr. Flirt so well. There’s a lot to be said for managing all kinds of people, but I think she knew he was harmless. And I think he made her feel good about herself.

He saw me writing a note in my book and asked if I had a pen he could borrow. I lent him my least favorite, thinking that I probably wouldn’t get it back. Along with the pen, I gave him a peppermint candy. I thought it might calm him down. He was a bit hyperactive, between his iPhone poker games, a book he pretended to read whose cover I never saw and his third cup of coffee. He fidgeted a lot and leaned over his knapsack looking for things and shuffling items around.

To my surprise, when we landed he handed me my pen back.

Upon disembarking he said to the Skycap waiting with a wheel chair, “Is that for me?”

“Not yet,” the guy said. And the two of them laughed.

I decided I liked him. He was a person who appreciated laughter, created laughter and could find laughter in seconds. He brought out the best in people and that was a gift. Okay, maybe it wasn’t so bad that he sat in the seat that was not supposed to be his.