Delta Flight Talk

Somebody I don’t know very well – not at all, really – asked me if the stories on my website were real or not. I  politely explained that every day we live stories and sometimes these sorts of events lead me to my keyboard – where I make little adjustments, from time to time.

Stories surround us, enchant us – if we watch carefully enough.  Like my meeting the passenger, last week, from Montana, who’d finished a series of unusual brain treatments in Atlanta that would make the AMA cringe and who sat beside me for over five hours, taking me along on his one-time Iraq tours, trout fishing vigils,  and sharing  his  opinions generously. I was simply 31F, aisle seat, and he had the window seat – imperfect strangers passing the time over the clouds, talking about why you must buy virgin olive oil in green bottles and why hemp milk is better than rice and soy milk,  and wincing at the mention of canola oil.   We also inventoried our musical preferences and smiled at our almost equally eclectic tastes.  His raves for Metallica and Mendelssohn balanced my yen for Mandy Patinkin  and Burt Bacharach.  When I made a very risky confession that I liked the Carpenters, he grinned and said he thought they were great and then went on and on with a  bluegrass itinerary that left me lost in the clouds.

At least three times during our airborne companionship, he mentioned that he had been married for 13  years;  I smiled and commented that we were approaching our 26th anniversary. His wife won’t fish with him, but she reads books while he waits for bites.  If my husband ever took up fishing, I’d be turning pages, too.  Funny, that he turned out to be almost to the day 19 years older than my son, and I was just months short of being 19 years older than he was.  He apologized once for being opinionated and I thanked him for the same – over 2000 miles in the sky without strong words would have been very hard to endure.

Every word here is true and unexaggerated, to the best of my ability.  What I left out was that had there been an on-board trivia game, as some Delta flights have, I barely would have paid attention to him.  My eyes would have been glued to the game on the back of the seat ahead of me, battling to beat other passengers to the right answer.  On the flight out to see my parents, I’d played 12 rounds and stretched my aging dendrites to take second place.  With two categories testing the inner elements of sports and aviation, I had to do my very best at history, media, and general trivia. And time mattered – getting the answer fast brought in 500 points, but any wobbling over A or C could lead to a meager 100 point gain or worse. Knowing who won every Wimbledon match in 1982 or some such made it possible for JJJ at seat  26B to claim the race  — to have his screen name and seat number highlighted in big letters for all to admire!   While 12 back of the seat trivia rounds was a stressful way to fly the friendly skies –it got me there faster than ever before.

And that’s how my chat with the window-seated  Montana-bound 38 year old started – I was whimpering that there was no trivia game on board, which somehow took us to a discussion of the virtues of kale,  digestive enzymes, and his insistence that I watch “House” at least once. He almost convinced me that that there’s no better place to live than NE Montana – I suppose that’s why he signed up for a window seat.