Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Talk Your Way Out of This One Blah Blah Blah Blah

One thing I really, really hate is talking to people on planes. Oh, I will never initiate the conversation, you can count on that. A nod "hello" or an "Excuse me, my seat is just...right...in there...so if I could just get by you. Thanks!" is the best you can expect.

The main reason I hate it is because you're trapped. I'm sure I've turned down conversational opportunities with some very smart and interesting people, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make if it means I've even dodged one crazy in the bunch. If it all goes awry or it gets uncomfortable, where are you going to go? 26B is where you were sitting, and that's where you'll stay. What if you just plain run out of things to talk about, but the other person doesn't seem to realize it? You can't beg off with a, "Well, I won't keep you. I'm sure you have plenty of things to do." Especially when the guy read the entire SkyMall catalog and Hemispheres magazine before even taking off. Oh, no. He's got plenty of time on his hands, and he wants to share it all with you.

So, I wasn't too pleased when I realized I'd be sitting in a middle seat on my flight yesterday. I'm one of those people who honestly doesn't have a preference for a window or aisle because, as far as I'm concerned, it's a tie. With the window, you have something to lean against to get in some good sleep, and you can check out the scenery. With the aisle, you can get up and go to the bathroom as much as you please. But I think one thing everyone can agree on is that the middle sucks, especially if you don't want to talk to people on planes. You can't just turn away from them.

I found my seat, and right away, the window seat guy says, "Oh, I see we both brought a lunch!" "Well, mine's just a bagel."
"I have a sandwich!"
"Hm."

I know, I know. He's just trying to be friendly. But if you give these people the slightest opening, you're screwed, and I was already worried that I had said too much.

I picked up the magazine to see what the movie was.
"So! What's the movie!?"
"Ummm. The Island."
"Huh!"

All right. Not so bad. But still, you have a copy of the magazine, too. Use it! I'm surprised he didn't grill me about the drink selection next.

More thankful than ever to own an iPod, I took mine out and put the earbuds in my ears. Before I could crank up the music...
"Hey! An iPod! How is it?"
"It's great."
"I'm thinking about getting one myself. The one with the video!"
"Sounds nice."
Commence tunes. He openly watched as I scrolled through the menu and selected. I put it upside down in my lap so he couldn't see.

Then I took out my book, which frankly, I'm a little embarrassed to be seen with. Don't get me wrong. It's good and very amusing, but for one, it looks like the Bible. It's especially weird when I'm at the gym and I appear to be reading the Bible. People there must think I'm very hard core. The other is the subject matter: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. It is less embarrassing than the history of pornography I read earlier this year, but I still wish there were a jacket I could remove to no one would really have to know what I'm reading.

Anyway, this book gets a little, ahem, explicit in parts. And Chatty Chuck was openly glancing over and reading along from time to time. I wanted to scream.

With about two hours left to go, the man mercifully lost interest in me and passed out for the rest of the flight.

In other news: I spent time with my grandma last night, and she looks really good. She was awake, sitting in a chair and holding her newest grandchild. I was braced for the worst, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Things are looking good!