repost from August 2011
I was diligent to get an early number to ensure a lower number in the first group that was called to board the plane in order to get a window seat. I secured my seat close to the front by a window, and established arm rest position in the “first come first serve, unspoken airline seating rules.”
I hoped for someone not too big to eventually fill the middle seat on the booked flight. The majority of the time it works out, but not this time… Being smashed as close to strangers as if they were family isn’t comfortable for anyone in their right mind.
I keep to myself as much as possible on a flight and make it a hard fast rule to not start conversations with my temporary too-close-for-comfort-neighbors. If spoken to, I like to give as short an answer as possible, but the most important part of the flight is to maintain sole possession of the arm rest… Thereby forcing the other person to keep their elbows in their laps.
I was relieved the older guy who ended up next to me was talking to the lady on the other side, who appeared to be about his age. I kept my head down on my yellow legal size paper tablet scribbling one of these posts that by this point has already been published.
About a quarter of the way into the flight, with everyone settled in, arm rest possession firmly established without question, the silver-haired and bearded fella did what I try to avoid. He looked at me at close range…
I could feel him looking. He then glanced down to what I was writing, but now no longer could, due to my concentration being broken by my too-big-for-his-seat neighbor. I tried to give him mental telepathy communication.
I talked to Hi Ho Silver in my mind. I repeated over and over, “Don’t do it”! – “Don’t do it”! – “Don’t do it”! … He did it… He spoke up. “You writin’ a book there”? I dryly answered, “No.” Not good enough for Hi Ho Silver. He pressed on, “Looks like a book”! – “Whach-a writin'”?
One of the few topics he could have probably lulled me into, I’m sure he knew it. He no doubt has come up with some wisdom along with the silver hair in his years.
“A blog.” I answered. His curiosity was piqued along with the third person rounding out our trio on the aisle seat. It was like the old commercial for the now defunct E.F. Hutton.
Those commercials showed two people talking and one of the guys asks the other, “Who’s you broker”? The crowded noisy room becomes instantly quiet when everyone in the crowded room looks directly at the guy of whom the question is asked. The man proudly declares “E.F. Hutton.”
I knew it was coming next and was prepared. Hi Ho Silver spoke up, “What kind of blog”? Of course the crowd grew silent and it seemed the jet engines went silent as well. I confidently said, “A Christian Inspiration Reflection blog.”
“Oh”! He said and continued, “You know Rick Warren”? I politely answered, “Of course – I think everyone knows Rick Warren.” – “I mean – I don’t know him , but I’ve read his stuff.”
Hi Ho Silver and Miss Aisle Seat talked friendly enough; I thought after I told them it was Christian they’d leave me alone. – No dice… I learned Mr. Silver had golfed with Rick Warren a couple of times and the conversation lasted the rest of the flight.
The nice people pressed me for the site address and stated intentions to read. Maybe God will use some simple words to have an impact on their lives. That’s my hope.
Somehow in the flight and conversation, I was unarmed…
I looked down at the end of the flight and noticed my left elbow in my lap…
I noticed Hi Ho Silver’s squarely on MY coveted arm rest…
He was good, I mean really good…