Judging on a Plane

I am writing this on an airplane, in my ear is a very loud hum as I am sitting right next to a prop. I am flying solo, which always lends itself to the mysterious question: who is going to sit next to me?

I took my seat by the window and waited, and as every passenger got on board, I determined how I felt about them being the stranger I was snuggled up with for this flight.

I never have had a fear of flying. I never got on a plane with the thought this sucker might go down, but my last trip to visit my family in North Carolina, I had an insane ride. Our plane got struck by lightning and everyone around my was freaking out. The guy behind me made a farewell video to his wife and kids on his iPhone. A woman in front of me was crying and hugging her children. It was pretty strange.

But I just sat there in the midst of the chaos, of the flight attendants and the captain telling us to remain in our seats and try to stay calm. I sat there. I was listening to Ingrid Michaelson and I thought what if this is the last song I ever hear? It was a calm thought, though. Not one bound in fear and nerves. I looked at the man sitting next to me and realized that if I was to die, this stranger would be the last person I spoke to. We could spend our dying words on each other. And while all of this is slightly morbid and exaggerated, it is a weird thought.

So as I sat today, surveying my potential seat companion, I was looking for someone that I wouldn’t mind sharing last words with. Not that I thought we would go down, (or are going to – knock on wood as I’m still mid-flight) but it was an exciting idea to toy with.

And I found myself judging. Everyone. Very quickly and I’m sure incredibly unfairly.

Ohh, not her – she seems like the type of woman who will keep the light on the whole time.

Not him, he looks like he would fall asleep and end up snoring on my shoulder.

Not that woman, I heard her talking on the phone as we waited to board, and she sounded incredibly demanding.

She looks nice. I bet she smells nice.

Oh boy – please not him, he was looking at me before we got on the plane.

He looks nice. Handsome, wise, I imagine he would be very calm in emergency situations. We could have a polite conversation about his lovely wife, and his children, one of whom just started coll- oh, he’s sitting there.

Woah woah, eye contact – TOO MUCH EYE CONTACT – he would want to talk all flight and I am trying to read this book.

She looks pleasant, that tattoo is pretty. I hope she sits next to me. I imagine we would have good conversation, enough to be polite but not an overbearing amount.

OK Mr. Businessman, you will probably sit next to me, hog the armrest, and work on spreadsheets the whole flight.

The guy that sat next to me is young, maybe 20. He is a little bit nervous, but nice about it – not obnoxiously grabbing the armrests or anything. He’s very polite, even though we haven’t spoken, we’ve exchanged a few smiles and have established that we are in this thing together.

My feet are on the ground now, having landed safely at my destination.

But all of this makes me wonder what peoples thoughts are when they are riding solo on a plane, and they see me walk their way?

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Part of the A to Z Challenge… A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

J

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