I had a late night flight from Canada last night returning to San Diego. My plans were to put the phone on airplane mode, take a sleeping pill and pass out with my head smashed up against the window while drool dripped down my hoodie.
Upon check in, I realized that I was NOT seated in the window seat on the airplane. I was REALLY pissed off about this. I hate the aisle seat, I have sensitive elbows. I asked to be moved but the Delta representative said the flight was full. Upon boarding, I noticed there was no one in the window seat (yet) and I decided to plop down and wait to see if my ‘flight buddy’ would notice I was in his/her seat.
I pondered just popping a sleeping pill right away and pretending to be dead asleep once he/she sat down but I wasn’t quick enough and a 6’4 guy showed up, placed his carry on above, and sat down. I looked at him with a look of uncertainty…
Me: Hi. Are you angry?
Tall Man: Angry? Why would I be angry?
Me: I stole your seat. I’m sorry. I hate the fucking aisle seat.
Tall Man: ((laughing)) No, No, you are fine. I am not angry. I like the aisle.
Me: Good, because it probably would have taken airport security to get me to move.
Tall man laughs and sits down and we shot the breeze for a bit. He asked me what I was doing in Canada, I asked him why he was going to San Diego. He informed me his girlfriend is in the Navy and he comes down once a month to visit.
Me: WOW! You must really like this chick to come down here once a month. This whole airport thing SUCKS. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to remove my shoes today.
Tall Man: Yes, I do, we have been dating for a year. I am moving to San Diego in November.
Me: Do you tell her you love her?
Tall Man: ((Laughing)) Oh, wow. You’re really going there! Yes, I tell her I love her. We are prefect for each other.
Me: You should marry her. I know some good ring shops in San Diego. I could give you suggestions. Do you want kids?
Tall Man: Woah! Lots of questions!
Me: No really. Think about it—It is a good plan. She is in the military, you love her, that would be great—you’d get free healthcare and I hear there are other perks when you marry someone in the military. There are some really nice military housing in San Diego, too. AND YOU LOVE HER!!!
Tall Man: ((Laughs Again)) Everyone keeps telling me this. Benefits, higher salary, etc. But these are all reasons that I would not want to plunge forward with it. If she didn’t have all of those things to offer, I probably would do it. I just don’t like that with marriage comes all these freebies for me. It doesn’t sit well with me. It makes me uncomfortable.
Me: Very respectable. You’re a nice man. I totally agree with you and see your point…… But really, you should do it.
Tall Man: ((dying laughing while mocking my prior statement))
Flight Attendant Comes By: Drinks?
Me: YES! GIN AND TONIC. PRONTO.
Tall Man: Sprite.
Me: What the fuck? We are planning your wedding here and you are ordering a Sprite? I feel it’s better to make these decisions with a little alcohol in your system.
Tall Man: (uncontrollably laughing) We are not making any decisions right now!! You are!
Me: You didn’t answer my question. Do you want kids? How old are you?
Tall Man: 35. I am 50/50 on the kids thing. My girlfriend doesn’t like dog hair.
Me: Hmm. Yeah, that could be a problem. Dogs shed—-Kids POOP, PEE, BARF, and SO much more.
Tall Man: I coached a youth basketball team and I really enjoyed working with the kids.
Me: I think you should have kids.
Tall Man: Yeah?
Me: I do. Kids are great. They can drive you insane but they also provide you with every emotion on the spectrum. They are amazing, the journey is intense but SO great.
Tall Man: I had a child with Down Syndrome on my youth basketball team—I really enjoyed working with him. It was such a wonderful experience.
Me: YOU SHOULD REALLY HAVE KIDS. You are too nice to not have kids. I sense you want kids. You do, don’t you?
Tall Man: ((Smiles))
Tall Man: Can you give me some gift suggestions for my girlfriend?
Me: Of course! Does she like nice stuff, unique stuff, interesting journeys?
Tall Man: Yes, Yes, and Yes.
Me: Get her a Kate Spade/Tory Burch handbag. All chicks love that shit.
Tall Man: She has all that stuff. Tons of bags and shoes.
Me: Etsy. They have a lot of cool handmade jewelry.
Tall Man: I think she told me not to buy her jewelry…
Me: Ugh. Fine. Take her on a Hornblower cruise this weekend! That is super romantic!
Tall Man: We are doing that tomorrow night.
Me: That’s it. I’m taking my sleeping pill. You are annoying me. You ask me for suggestions and every suggestion I give, you shut it down.
Tall Man: (Again, laughing hysterically) I’M SORRY!!
We sat there for the remainder of the flight and went back and forth about life, whether or not he thought he should have kids, how much he adores his girlfriend, marriage, and cracked more jokes at one another than some of my closest friends and I do. It was one of the most interesting, yet hilarious experiences I’ve ever had with a stranger. It also reminded me, I have no boundaries and I need to work on that.
Just as we were about to land, I asked him: ‘Is this the strangest encounter you’ve ever had on an airplane?’
Tall Man: ‘No, I once sat next to the best friend of my ex-wife—that was far more interesting than this. This encounter is definitely up there though.’
I replied ‘Well, I was planning on taking a sleeping pill and not talking to anyone but I felt inclined to at least acknowledge the fact I stole your seat and then this conversation happened….Have kids or don’t have kids, Tall Man. Love…go marry your woman. Follow you heart… Enjoy life. You are a nice man. It was really fun talking with you. Sorry I couldn’t help with the gift suggestions.’
Tall Man: ‘It was very nice meeting you Ashley…by the way, my name is John…’
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I Promise NOT to Sit Next to You on an Airplane