“Welcome aboard!” Our ears tickled at the greeting to the herd of humans that boarded first. I grabbed a window seat one row back and a burly man stalking behind me grabbed the aisle seat of the same row. As the herd thinned along with the available seats so did my elbow room to another guy, a good sized kid.

When a bunch of strangers are tossed together like a fresh salad, there’s always a story in the makin’. It’s like playing poker; you never know what kind of card you might draw.

I was in luck; turns out the cards seated all around me weren’t the chatterbox kind… but the flight from Phoenix to Denver was just getting started.

As all of us sat uniformly like sardines in a can, most of us tried to avoid eye contact. Us veterans know that eye contact can lead to a conversation and a conversation with a stranger on an airline flight is only a couple steps up from being water boarded.

The younger fella next to me, with a shaved head and arms, had headphones in and was bouncing slightly to the beat that I could hear emanating from the tiny white speakers buried in his ears. As soon as the jet leveled off, as if on cue, the burly man with lots of chins fell fast asleep.

For those of us that have spent our fairshare of time fighting gravity in a metal tube at about 14,000 feet, we know there’s a lot of fakers; folks that pretend to be asleep, try desperately to find it and usually without success. But the one dead giveaway of a real nap is breathing patterns.

When the big guy’s jaw fell onto his chins and his breathing matched his weight, everyone knew behind those heavy eyelids he’d found the true land of “Z’s”. Then things got ugly…

image courtesy of returnofkings.com

image courtesy of returnofkings.com

As if right out of a movie that you’d critique as being too unrealistic, something very real began to happen. The burly guy started to snore, and not just snore, but bellow. There in not a pig alive today that could snort as powerfully as our airplane sleeping neighbor. A few seconds later he’d inhale a hurricane like Paul Bunyan trying to clear his sinuses.

The early forties gal across the aisle from the supersonic snorer wasn’t avoiding contact anymore. After about ten minutes of snore torture, she was shooting him full of holes with her eyes, but his were hiding safely behind his lids.

The kid next to me yelled over the sound of the super snorer, “You need a pair of these!” pointing to his ears. I nodded, one step ahead of him, reaching for mine.

The senses are an amazing and funny thing; folks only want to use them to hear what they want to hear. And they get downright angry when they hear what they don’t want to or don’t agree with. Most lost folks fit that bill… but so do a ton of Christians who only listen to have their ears tickled.