I don’t much like crowds. I don’t like being told where to sit, and I really hate to be strapped in.
Ergo, I don’t like airplanes. Especially airplanes with that three-seats-across thing.
The mister likes the window seat. I naturally get the middle and then there’s that awful suspense about who will sit on the aisle and hog the arm rest. None of this equates to happy.
I was middle-seating it recently on a trip home, nerves on edge waiting to see who’d be intimately sharing the next three hours with me.
I saw him get on the plane. I knew the minute he walked through that door that he was The One! Clearly a New Yorker, dressed in black from head to toe, not a teenager, but not an old geezer like us.
The minute he walks through that door onto the plane everything erupts. He’s greeted by nearly everyone, kissed, hugged, congratulated. They’re all happy to see him. Has the whole plane done Red Bull? This early in the morning? Clearly, there’s electricity in the air and we are not plugged in.
My seat mate is now chatting with everyone in sight. We offer to move so he can be with his friends. He demurs and says that most of people on the plane are his friends and one seat change won’t matter.
At this point, I’m longing for a crying baby. At least it might drink some warm milk and go to sleep. This could be a long trip. How will my grumpy self handle all of this energy, this obscene level of cheerfulness?
I try to figure out what’s going on. Finally, I hear the word “wedding.” When I can get a word in with him, I quietly say: ”Oh, off to a wedding?” Yes, he says, and I am the father of the bride.
I’ll cut to the chase. As I listen happily to all the details of the wedding, I soon realize that I’m sitting next to an extraordinary man. A generous, kind, open and, above all, happy, man.
No wonder all the people who were going to the wedding were so excited. They were going to spend the weekend with this man and his family. I’d have been happy too. It was a destination wedding….in Savannah….and people had flown in from all over the world to be there. It was going to be a joyful occasion.
We sat on the tarmac for an hour with not so much as a wiggle towards the runway and finally learned that one of the engines had an oopsie. We had to find another plane and were seriously delayed. Nobody lost their cool. The wedding party’s positive energy prevailed and no one cared…..including us.
They had absorbed us into their joy, their excitement and we were, at long last, plugged in and part of the happy.
A three hour trip turned into five and the time flew by.
After a Bloody Mary or two, it occurred to me that there was one little detail they might not have thought of…..their being from New York and all.
My advice: “ On the way to your destination, stop at a Walgreens and buy every single can of bug spray you can get your hands on. Human beings aren’t the only creatures in the south who like this beautiful weather.”
He gets it. Makes a note in his phone and says: “How many cans???? Six dozen???? No, we said, a couple of dozen should do it. Think of us when you press the nozzle.
We sat on our porch during the wedding, knowing exactly what time they’d be walking down the aisle, having cocktails and eating dinner, and I saw some bugs start to flit about.
Barry, I thought, let me count the ways I enjoyed meeting you and your friends and I hope that perhaps, just perhaps, one of those little cans of bug spray came in handy.
Nothing, certainly not a single mosquito, or ten thousand, should be allowed to get in the way of what was destined to be a beautiful occasion.
Thanks to Ponderweasel.com for the airplane interior image above.