Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saved By The Virgins

Oh boy.

I violated Cardinal Rule #1 of long-haul air travel.

Before takeoff, never engage the person sitting next to you.

It's tempting. You'll all going somewhere - an awesome vacation, home after a long business trip, to visit loved ones - somewhere. And you're excited. Possibly tired, but potentially chatty.

Well, that was me.

On yesterday's Virgin America flight back from LA, I found myself in the aisle seat next to one late 50's / early 60's lady (Let's call her Lady A) across the aisle, had an open middle seat, and then sat an even older lady in the window seat in my row (she's Lady B).

Somehow we began talking about the cheap LA-Boston airfares these days. Both Lady B and I booked our tickets a few weeks ago, and paid about $270 each. Lady A booked a one-way last week for just $90. Virgin was doing some deep discounting recently on this route.

Lady A mentioned that her children go to college out east - her daughter in Boston, and her son in Providence.

Providence? [ears perk up....Hmm...don't do it, don't do it...]

"I went to school of Providence too. Where does your son go?" I asked.

[Why did you do that?]

"He's graduating from Brown next month," she replied.

[ dumb, don't say it, dont say it...]

"Oh really? I went to Brown too!"


I did it. Not only had I violated cardinal rule #1 of long-haul air travel, but I made a personal connection. AND it was about her beloved children.

Lady A for 30 minutes - Talktalktalktalktalk, talktalktalk......talktalk.

Me for 30 minutes - "Oh really, oh, oh wow, yeah, oh, nice, yep, oh ok..."

Now it's important to note that this lady was indeed super nice. Both of her kids went to prep schools and then onward to highly competitive universities, they had great world experiences for their young lives, and she spoke of them with pride and adoration, not boastfulness. I saw my parents in her, as I had a similar educational experience (less the travel) thanks to their sending me to the schools that I attended. I didn't fault her for her devotion to them and did enjoy the topic of conversation. I simply didn't want to be hearing this for 5 hours and was looking for an out.

Thankfully....I found one.


Whether they saw Lady A's filibuster on me, or aisle 14 was simply the cart's next stop from which the attendants served cocktails, they put the cart RIGHT between us.

Whew! Saved by the Virgins

All I needed was a five minute break to get my noise-canceling headphones out and begin using them. When they moved the cart, Lady A started chatting with me again, but quickly finished and said that she'd "not take up all of my time and let me get to it," a nice was to sum up the conversation and gracefully let me go.

I spent the rest of the flight with my headphones on. Lady B, who I thought was also going to be chatty, slept during most of the flight. We had a few words upon our final approach and landing, but then went our separate ways.

Sometimes, I think I would talk to a tree if it could listen.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Hmmm. I was unaware of this rule. Two weeks back I flew home from Aruba and talked to my first class seat-mate almost the entire way. Except when we switched iPods for about an hour!

At the end of the flight I kept wishing he was 20 years older and not headed off to NYU as a freshman next year! : )

Are there other rules of flight? Maybe you should post a list!