(Oooh, a fragmented lost in draft post, just found, from earlier this year)
Now that was a catchier title than “Getting to know my fellow air travelers”, was it not?
Feet firmly back on the ground from vacation, I’ve been in hibernation from over-socialization. It isn’t that anyone was rude or intentionally draining either. I simply respond to excess people exposure like well-used rechargeable batteries – I wear out quickly.
Because my trip was an outgrowth from a surgical survival promise to myself, I tried to challenge my normal safety zones during this vacation. My normal flight behavior is book + headphones = polite ‘please ignore me’ signaling. I’m one of those people that everyone feels compelled to chat with for some odd reason; sometimes to extremes. But I don’t like to be rude, so the book comes in handy as a passive indicator of the fact that I’m done talking now. I do actually read the books I carry. I am glad that I changed things up, because several of the encounters gave me hope about people again.
The first passengers I met were Bubba and his mother (no lie, that was what she called him). It was Bubba’s first time flying and he was nervous, so his mom flew along with him and planned to turn around on the next immediate flight and return home. What makes a mother do that I wonder, because that would never occur to me to do and I’m not sure what that says about me. Bubba appeared to be somewhere between seventeen and twenty – hard to tell actually. His demeanor did not match his size so I assume he might have some behavioral or intellectual challenges. He was open about his fear of flying and had many questions. Curiosity and awe played across his face when looking out the window as we flew over the water on departure, but his interest did not last long. He brought a portable DVD player along and so watched ‘House’ the entire time we were allowed electronics. Not a vacuous show really, so maybe my assumption was off base. He was heading to Missouri, and during the week that followed I wondered where he ended up in relation to the flooding and storms. It seemed more dangerous to be on the ground than up in the air. Bubba, I hope you made it back home safely.
The airport experience was such an interesting part of the next flight. So many cultures represented! Various colors of people and dress, from hijabs to up-to-date Euro styling and everything in between. Languages, inflections, tonality – all were varied and existed as a murmuring backdrop to the physical activities going on. This airport was all hustle and bustle, quite different from where I boarded originally – where it was nearly deserted and took only seven minutes from printing my boarding pass, through security and arrival in the gate area. On the second leg I shared seating with a young man entering the Coast Guard and an experienced elk hunter en route with his wife to see their grandchildren. This flight was longer and the men had lots to talk about with each other, so I turned to my book and withdrew. The Rockies were spectacular under the full moon, and I made up imaginary stories about the solo lights I’d spy far, far apart and the people who lived out there in such a vast space so distant from anything else. The awe-inspiring thing was seeing the full moon and the Big Dipper looking as if I could open the plane window and touch them.
The funniest thing though was in this photo:
Why is there an international NO symbol for people plastered on an aircraft engine housing? Wouldn’t that make some people (like me) walk up to it to see what they aren’t supposed to do? And who really wants to fly on a plane that requires use of the “Starter Override Access Hole”? What does the tool that goes in there look like and what is it called? If one did need to access the starter override access hole, I do believe you’d be in violation of the no people sticker. Is this what is known as a Catch-22?
(and this is where it ended…so, that’s how it will be posted, lol!)
~SE (rummaging through the year)