A little while ago, The Captain, the dudes and I flew to Houston to visit my dad and my stepmother.
It may seem strange, but The Captain refused to sit next to me on the plane.
There is a back story here. I have a strange “power.” It is the ability to talk to anyone and they will share some of their deepest, darkest secrets with me without being prompted to do so. I don’t know where this gift (or curse) may have come from. I do know this: With great power, comes great responsibility. So, I am now letting my secret out. I am human truth serum.
It started many years ago when I was traveling with business. Flying alone can get lonely, but I love the quiet time to get absorbed in a book or take a quick nap on a plane. However, this does not happen for me. Ever. People talk to me. I smile. I nod. I show interest. And then they spill it. All of it.
I never really thought much about my days of flying until The Captain and I flew on an earlier journey to Houston many moons ago. It was one of the few times he would meet my dad before our wedding, and to suggest this trip was a big deal is putting it mildly. We ended up in a three-seat row. I put The Captain by the window and sat in the middle. A Mrs. Frizzle look-a-like sat down next to me. She began knitting what looked like socks. I smiled at her as I opened my novel. She started asking me about my career, where I was going, etc. By the end of the flight, I found out that she was divorced three times and was on her way to meet (for the first time) “a nice, solidly built man from the Internet.” I don’t know why it was important to add the “solidly built,” but whatever works I guess.
The Captain rolled his eyes. “I am not sitting next to you on a plane again.”
And so here we are.
On one occasion, my brother and I flew to Mississippi for the funeral of our grandfather. On the first leg of the flight, what looked like a college student sat next to me. I was annotating To Kill a Mockingbird for Monday’s lesson plan. She leaned over and told me it was one of her favorite books. She proceeded to tell me about her upcoming graduation from college, her job search, her cheating boyfriend and her impulsive interview for an out of state job. By the end of the flight, and to my brother’s amazement, she hugged me and thanked me for the support.
On the second leg of our flight, I was sitting next to a twenty-something who seemed very busy. She was organizing her airplane space, and had a book on her lap. I was ready to snooze. Five minutes into the flight, I passed a piece of gum to my brother and offered one to her (to not offer it would be rude, right?!). She took the piece of gum and then proceeded to tell me her life story. By the end of the flight, I learned she had survived a horribly abusive marriage and finally had won custody over her two-year-old daughter. She was flying to pick her up and bring her to her new home where she had made a fresh start. We were both in tears by the end of the flight and exchanged email information (and she, to this day, is doing very well).
The first leg of the flight, I had an aisle seat. One woman crossed over me to the window seat and opened her gigantic purse to reveal some KFC. She pulled it out and began eating. Boarding continued, and the person who was in the center stopped and asked me if I could move to the middle seat because she “couldn’t stand the b**** at the window.” I was speechless. I grabbed my things, almost afraid to say no, and moved over. The woman at the window muttered some foul language toward the other woman. Then, amazingly, they realized they could use me as a middle-man for their argument. It began innocently enough when Window said, “Tell Aisle I can’t believe she did that to me.” Aisle responded by stating, “You can relay to Window that she is a complete _____ and ______ and should have slept with my husband.” Now it was beginning to get awkward. Let me just conclude this by saying the flight attendant had to come over three times to ask them to stop yelling at each other. Each time, she would throw me a look of sheer pity. A stiff drink would have helped, too!
After we landed, I knew it couldn’t get any worse. I boarded the last leg of the plane and had the
horror pleasure of being seated in the front. I thought I was alone in the row. I began to relax, look out the window and prepare myself for a nice little nap on my flight home. So wrong. A guy sat next to me. He had his shirt unbuttoned like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. His name was Glenn and he was a genuine gigolo. Glenn had on three very thick gold chains and two gold bracelets. I secretly wondered if he had attacked Mr. T. earlier that day in the Atlanta airport. He informed me that I was a “lovely woman” and he was “lucky to sit by such a jewel.” I must say I am neither lovely or a jewel. Glenn told me he was on his way to Ohio to “check his investments” before returning to his villa in Mexico where he “painted naked pictures of willing subjects and sometimes got lucky.” After downing three Glenlivits, Glenn told me about this magical villa and his thankfulness to Pfizer for inventing Viagra. I have never wanted to use a plane’s barf bag before this day.
And to all of the lovely jewels out there – stay far, far away from anyone named Glenn that owns a villa in Mexico.