guy on a plane
(originally posted 8/19/2019)
As I sat down he was already talking to his cup. He was visibly annoyed. I had the aisle seat, he had the window.
“Listen ice, I appreciate you cooling down my beverage and all but quit bumping my teeth every time I try and take a drink.”
He saw I was taking in his conversation (I was going to say “drinking in his conversation” but it seemed too droll), so he quickly switched gears and extended his hand, “Hi, I’m Brian. Where you from?”
I gave him my name and the city I lived in and hoped our little chat would end there.
It would not.
Over the course of the next four hours and forty minutes I got to know far more about Brian than any stranger should ever have to endure. As we took off he told me the story abut how he had this big tree outside the house he grew up in and how special that tree was to him until his first plane ride where he saw all of the millions of trees from above and how they all looked the same and he could never look at his boyhood tree the same way. It could still have the tire swing and the big branches for climbing but he knew deep down that from 10,000 feet in the air it looked like all the other green circles.
I suggested the same could be said about women, but he’d already moved on to the next topic.
Which was pain.
He told me that one time he hit his head so hard that instead of seeing a bright light he actually visualized the pain as purple and black. I wondered what that meant and asked him for more information.
“It was like these black silhouettes of Valkyries riding down from a swirling purple sky. It was more like an apocalyptic hallucination than a head injury.”
For a fleeting moment I found him slightly fascinating but without skipping a beat he immediately started talking about how women should always wear bras.
The impetus for this new line of thought? A woman was leaning over her seat a few rows in front of us and you could clearly see her breasts. (I feel I should be completely honest and tell you the first time I typed ‘breasts’ I typed ‘greats’. That has to mean something. Something pretty simple actually.) I turned my head instantly, embarrassed and hoping she wouldn’t look up and notice me staring at her wrack. Brian on the other hand stared right at them, the whole time extolling the virtues of modesty in this decadent age of exhibitionism.
When we finally arrived at our gate I practically ran down the aisle to be free of him. It wasn’t until I was waiting to step onto the crowded shuttle that would take me to the main terminal that I realized Brian was still with me. We boarded the bus with some minor difficulty as the people standing in the middle were not too gung ho about pushing together to allow other passengers to board.
Brian chirped in “White people aren’t comfortable cramming together like the Asians. Asians would have twice as many people on this bus without batting an eyelash. People of European descent don’t like to cram.”
I would like to say that I found this comment somehow racist, but I was too worried about using the term “gung ho” when I knew there was a sentence involving Asians coming right up. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t cram in too many Asians I guess.
I had no reply for that and we spent the remainder of the ride in silence.
Eventually I made for the taxi stand he left for parts unknown.
All of the above conversations actually happened and were in no way embellished for your reading pleasure.
Also, all of the above is what I imagine the guy in the aisle was thinking about what I was saying. Except the parts in parenthesis, that’s what I imagine he would be thinking I would be thinking if I were writing it down.