“Do you have the time?”
The question comes from a rather large man with curly grey hair, who appears to be at least twenty degrees warmer than he would choose to be. There is a chance that he is literally melting in the seat next to me.
I was under the impression that this question had become completely archaic with the advent of the cell phone, but if he notices the peculiar beauty of my favorite calculator wristwatch that could be a good way to start a conversation. I lift my wrist to eye level with a rather dramatic flourish and mentally subtract twelve hours from the military time displayed on the screen.
“Its half—half past four.”
I’m stammering again. In my head I consider ...view middle of the document...
The airport is the perfect place for self-proclaimed people-watchers. You spend a lot of time waiting with the same people, and yet no one really expects you to ever speak. I always find myself making up a backstory for the person a few seats down from me waiting at the gate during layovers. Today it was a handsome, dark-skinned twenty-something with a rather nice hair cut and a worn, even dusty leather bag whom I just happened to sit next to. I spent the hour layover picturing a rather detailed account of his recent archaeological discovery in Abusir, while pretending to read a book. The dusty bag is a dead giveaway, there’s no other explanation, this man could only be a modern day Indiana Jones— coincidentally my type.
A few times I thought I might actually talk to him. My careful observations showed no evidence of a wife or girlfriend — no ring and a rather unfortunate pair of leather boots that no woman would allow in her home. After about thirty minutes my inner narrative had me in a rather lovely pair of cargos married to this man and sharing a canvas tent at a dig in Turkey. Once I awoke from the daydream I promised myself that I would speak to him if fate would have him sit in the seat next to me on our flight to Dallas.
But alas, fate would not have it.
It’s mostly a relief as I am very near hyperventilating just considering which greeting I would have started out with. “Hi” makes me sound like a child, but if I said “hello” I would inevitably over stress the ‘o’ potentially creating a “come hither” type of salutation. No, its for the best that I didn’t speak up and embarrass myself. The really absurd part of me considers my earlier daydream and wonders if I’ve just allowed that silly destiny I imagined with that man to slip through my fingers. Perhaps I’ve ended my chances at going to Turkey by not introducing myself as we sat in those black leather seats at gate 22.
“Do you think that maybe you could switch seats with me?”
It takes me a second to return to reality and register the request. This poor man is desperate for the slightest bit of cool air. I typically avoid the window seat, because my legs are rather long and my bladder is rather small, but this man appears to be in real distress so I smile and nod. As I rise I take the opportunity to stretch my legs a bit to prepare for the next few hours of silent discomfort. I bend my knee back and grab my ankle with my right hand, stretching and looking around as the desperate man fumbles with his seat belt.
In the seat behind him there is a teenage boy asleep with his oversized headphones pinned between his ear and his shoulder, mouth wide open. He’s sitting next to a woman that appears to be his mother who glances up at me briefly and catches me looking down at her magazine. I look away quickly to avoid inciting a conversation about the stress of travel or the minuscule amount of legroom that $400 buys you on Spirit Airlines, and my eyes naturally land on none...