Airplane Observations


I recently flew to see my grandmother in Maryland. I’ve only flown maybe 5 or 6 times my entire life, but this time I noticed something interesting during my trip. I noticed that even though every seat on the plane is taken, hardly anyone talks to each other. It really is amazing. You’re stuck in this small seat for an hour or two at least, and no words or a very minimum number of words are spoken between you and the person sitting next to you. I found this interesting and a little uncomfortable. You ride closer to your seatmates in a plane than you do in a car, yet silence. I wonder if anyone has ever noticed the similarities between libraries and planes…all those books and magazines that everyone carts along with them on a plane, and there’s also that unnatural quietness in a library that you also find on a plane. But I think planes are actually quieter than most libraries I’ve been in. So I’ve come to the conclusion that airplanes are kind of like libraries in the sky.


Even though I am an introvert, I am a quality time person, and I have to at least acknowledge the person’s existence next to me. During the first leg of my flight, I chatted the whole time with a girl named Keeya. It was great. The plane ride went fast, and I enjoyed finding out about her, her fiancé, and her family. She mentioned she always brings a book when she flies alone because most of the time no one acknowledges her presence. We exchanged e-mails at the end of the flight, and I now have a new friend that doesn’t live too far from me.


The last leg of my trip to Salisbury, MD, which only has 7 flights in and 7 flights out each day, was on a prop plane and was a little bumpy, but nobody grabbed the seat in front of them and yelled, “Oh, God, we’re going to die,” so I figured I was ok. On this flight, I sat next to a 15 year old boy, who reminded me of my 12 year old son. I asked him a few questions, but he seemed a little nervous, and I think he was secretly hoping I wouldn’t talk the whole way and eventually connected his ipod to his ears.  As I got off the plane with him, I told him to have fun with his grandparents, and he laughed, rolled his eyes, and said they talked too much. I’m sure he probably placed me in the same category as his grandparents.


As I was beginning my return flight home, I got on the plane and struck up a conversation with the man beside me. I mentioned to him that I didn’t really like

being on prop planes…he informed me that they are the safest because they glide…whether or not this is true, I have to admit it made me feel a little bit better. We ended up having to get off the plane due to bad weather, but an hour or so later, we were able to board the plane again. As I went to return to my seat, my seatmate motioned for me to sit in the aisle across from him instead of beside him, which made sense since so many seats were now open, due to many people not being able to catch their connecting flight. Apparently, he wasn’t interested in talking or maybe he just wanted my window seat, and that was ok with me because I really enjoyed staring out the window at the sea of clouds underneath me. I noticed a guy near me had hooked up his computer and was watching an action movie…apparently he wasn’t a reader or a talker.


I got on my last plane in Charlotte only to notice that no one was sitting next to me at all. The entire plane was filling up, but both seats that were near me were vacant. Eventually, one man came and sat on the aisle seat, but I still did not have anyone right next to me. After a delay, the very last two people got on the plane, and one of them came and sat next to me. My new seatmate informed me that there was actually supposed to be an older man sitting in the seat next to me, but he was up front with a bleeding hand pitching a fit, and, so I was saved from the angry, bleeding hand guy, for which I was very grateful since it was 11 pm and people were dozing. I could just imagine the bleeding guy’s hand falling in my lap as he dozed off to sleep. So, my new seatmate Nick, who is working on his pilot’s license, informed me that most people don’t look up and smile and talk like I do on planes…but he didn’t seem to mind. We had a good time talking and probably disturbed some of the sleeping people around us…oh well…the flight went fast, and I now have a new facebook friend.


So, if you want to maintain your anonymity on airplanes, I hope you don’t get stuck next to a girl like me…just bring a book and pretend to read, and maybe she’ll get the hint… J


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time flies

July 2008
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