You: Twenty-something bearded fellow, right aisle seat on a Southwest flight to Oakland.
Me: College student in the middle seat with the huge book you thought was Harry Potter but was actually a collection of Arthurian Literature. I only managed to read a few pages of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight before you asked me what I was reading.
I’d spent eight hours in the airport after missing my early morning flight home for spring break and was relieved to finally be on my way, but I also was not really in the mood to be social on a cramped flight. You almost chastised me for sitting in a middle seat and immediately isolating myself in my book. Apparently the middle seat is the social seat. I didn’t really have much of a choice; I’d been added to the flight at the last minute and had to sit in the only available seat, and since people on planes have an aversion to sitting next to each other, the middle was my place (as it’s always been since my younger siblings were born).
After that my book was abandoned, progressively moving from my lap to my purse on the floor as our conversation traveled from topic to topic, including why Olive Garden is a terrible restaurant. And we eventually bet the cash that you would have used to buy an alcoholic beverage had the airlines not switched to paperless transactions on whether the flight attendant would actually take your money for another drink after she’d already comped you a free one.
You were going to Las Vegas, so the betting and gambling was not that surprising, but I still didn’t feel completely comfortable making bets. Your game of splitting the $4.00 evenly and quizzing each other on state capitols was quite cheesy and I knew that you were going to throw the game on purpose anyway, but you refused to take no for an answer. It was actually kind of cute.
I never got a good look at your face and we never exchanged names. You had a connecting flight and I was continuing on through to Burbank. But it was a pleasant few hours sandwiched in between a tiring and hectic morning in the Spokane airport and a traumatic 20 minutes in the Oakland airport trying to convince the customer service agent that I was supposed to stay on the plane and not wait two hours until the next flight home.
For the record, I spent the $4.00 at Starbucks the next morning before church bible study.