2012.01.18 Flying with strangers is good for a laugh

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

Level 3, Brown, Zone E4

I texted that to three people when we parked at the Big Blue garage at Detroit Metro before flying to Savannah a couple weeks ago. And David wrote it on a piece of paper. And I repeated it over and over to myself until I had a chance to also write it down.

But do you think we could find our car when we arrived back in Detroit? We walked all over hell and half of Georgia, suitcases in tow, listening for the honking as David pressed the alarm button on the remote car door opener, before realizing that we needed to lug our suitcases up a flight of stairs. 

Echolocation is not the easiest thing in the Big Blue, but we’d probably still be there searching for our car if not for that alarm button. We’re in the market for a new-to-us car and, after this episode, “remote car door opener” rose to the top of the list of required features in any vehicle we buy. 

Locating our vehicle was the only blip in a very lovely long weekend in Savannah—except for GMO Guy.

We changed planes in Charlotte on our way to Savannah and sat across from a long-winded guy who seemed a bit full of himself—and full of talk about GMOs. His poor seatmate—she patiently listened as he went on and on about his company and what they were doing with the latest generation of seeds and how they were modifying them.

They were both around 60, I’d say, she with a long, long faded blonde braid all the  way down her back, dressed in cotton and wools and looking very earthy. GMO Guy finally took a breather and seemed to assess his captive.

“Do you understand genetics at all?” he asked.

“Well, I went to Oberlin...” she said, her voice trailing off, as if that explained why she might not understand what this guy was telling her.

Oberlin is a liberal arts college and conservatory of music in Ohio known for its academic and musical excellence and its commitment to social justice, sustainability, and diversity. If genetics was among the course offerings, Blonde Braid didn’t sign up.

But she was a real trouper of a seatmate, nodding her head and interjecting with an occasional “Huh,” and an “Oh,” and an “Ah.” She was reading “The Universe is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story.” I never heard of it, but I’m guessing someone reading that probably isn’t tremendously interested in plant genetics.

He was reading “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” a book that says, I’m a literary kind of guy, a nice guy, a you-don’t-have-to-worry-about-me kind of guy. A book that wouldn’t let you know he was going to talk non-stop about genetic engineering. 

Planes are such weird places. You’re stuck. You’re sitting next to people you don’t know, cramped together for hours. It’s a rare plane ride these days when you can move to another seat; most flights I’ve been on this past year have been totally full.

But plane rides (especially on Southwest), are often a good source for an unexpected laugh. Flight attendants with a good sense of humor make flying so worthwhile.

As we took our seats on the return flight home, I noticed two high school boys a couple rows ahead of us rapidly scarfing down hamburgers as the rest of the passengers boarded.

Before the plane left the gate, one of the flight attendants was making her way down the aisle, helping passengers and closing the overhead bins.

She reached her hand out toward the boys as if to collect their McDonald’s bags. They each gobbled one more big bite and were putting the rest of the sandwich in the bag before handing it to her.

“Did you all see them giving me their food?!” she exclaimed to all of us within earshot.

The flight attendant looked bemused. 

“You boys need to know your rights!” she said. 

“I didn’t want your garbage, I just wanted a bite of your sandwich,” she joked.

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