Remember the 90-day rule? If not, here’s a quick reminder … about every 90 days or so, something out of the ordinary happens that surprises and/or delights us. It’s been awhile, I admit longer than 90 days, but it just happened to me on the flight back from Providence this past week.
After grousing about my past three flights on American Airlines, I was once again told I had to check my luggage at the gate (no overhead bin space left for Group 9ers… what a surprise!) and I had been assigned yet another middle seat for the five hour flight from Charlotte, NC to Las Vegas. And, in case you’re wondering, yes, evidently Charlotte IS on the way from Providence to Las Vegas… who knew?
As I made my way down the crowded aisle to the back of the plane , I came to my seat row (30) and there were two good looking young men sitting there … 30ish ... aisle and window, who were obviously buds and here I was attempting to sit between them. Not bad for me, but sitting with a grandma between them might not be their cup of tea. I asked if they wanted to switch seats maybe, but no they were fine where they were. Several flights had been delayed due to weather and the plane was jammed full of folks dressed for the warm heading to Vegas for some gambling and fun in the sun. David had just informed me that snow was on the way to Las Vegas and the temps hovered in the low to mid-30s. Sorry, folks!
As the plane was boarding, I struck up a tentative conversation with the fellow to my left… aisle guy. He had a few days off and he and his friend (window guy) were going to stay at the Luxor, do a little gambling and wondered if there was anything else to do in town. Hmmm… I live in Las Vegas and I’ve just completed my book, Las Vegas for Non-Gamblers, so I had quite a few suggestions. They both really seemed interested and the chat continued. Heck, window guy even took notes.
Aisle guy, aka Sean, is a high school music teacher and a professional keyboardist. He enjoys teaching, but music is his passion. He’s part of a band and plays gigs all around the Springfield, Massachusetts area. Window guy, Will, worked for IBM and is now a freelance programmer. The 3-way conversation continued amicably, covering a myriad of subjects including what I’d been doing the past few years. When I said that David and I had lived aboard a sailboat for 18 years and sailed around the world, their interest was piqued. They had lots and lots of questions and I, of course, had lots and lots of answers. I worried I was boring them, but the questions just kept on coming.
My conversation with Sean became more interesting as I learned more about him, his teaching and his plans for moving his music career forward. In fact, he’d made a CD of his original ‘smooth jazz’ compositions back in 2016. We talked about the creative process as well as the energy and cash required to make a professional recording. He had learned a lot over the past couple of years and knew there was still much more to learn. Then, he offered me a copy of his CD. Awesome!
One of the questions Will asked was what it was like aboard the boat, in the middle of the ocean, in a storm. I tried to explain the discomfort of being knocked around, the wild ride, the deafening noise. It’s hard to comprehend until the plane hit an area of heavy turbulence. The plane rose and dipped and our stomachs rose and dipped with it. It shook from side to side and so did we. The bumps were startling and unnerving. Just as quickly as it began, we were in smooth air again. “That’s what it’s like aboard a boat in a storm… except it doesn’t go away in minutes. Instead, it continues for hours and sometimes days.” Will decided ocean sailing was probably not in the cards for him.
All in all, despite the middle seat, despite the lack of food, despite the turbulence, despite my cramped legs, I actually enjoyed the flight. Which goes to show, it’s not the venue, it’s the company. Thanks to window guy and aisle guy for making an otherwise miserable flight, a most memorable and pleasant one.