I walked down the aisle searching the plane for a window seat. I spied a middle seat in the emergency row between two older gentlemen that would do instead. Extra legroom, I probably wouldn’t have to talk to anyone… I’ll take it! I asked if the seat was available and the man in the aisle seat sprang out to let me in.
“I saved it just for you,” he said.
“Haha oh, thanks,” I said, while wrestling the book that I was eager to read out of my backpack.
“Austin or Orlando,” he stated. I was confused. It wasn’t a question and I wasn’t sure if he was directing it at me.
“What was that?” I asked.
“Austin or Orlando,” he said again, this time with a slight edge in his voice.
It still was not a question, but I obliged him with an answer anyway. “Austin. Time to go back to school! You?”
“Disney,” he said with a smirk and a twinkle in his eye.
“Fun!” I said while flipping to the first page of my book.
The plane taxied into position for takeoff.
“Time to practice my flying,” the man stated. He rolled his magazine up and held it like a joystick in his right hand. “I won’t pull back until we reach 120 miles per hour.”
The plane gained speed. The man pulled up on his imaginary steering wheel at the same time that the plane pulled up.
“Landing gear up!” he announced at the same time that the landing gear rumbled below us.
I ignored the urge to run and instead looked back at my book.
“What are you studying?” he asked.
I held back an exasperated sigh and said, “Business and Political Science.”
“Want to be a politician?” he questioned.
“After I make my millions. What do you do?” I didn’t want to extend this conversation, but I also didn’t want to be rude. He had been waiting for this question since I sat down.
“I’m an inventor,” he said with another smirk and a side glance. “Yeah, it’s a portable alarm something something something. Want to see it?”
I nodded along at his description, pretending that I understood. I nodded emphatically that I would, in fact, like to see it, when really I would not. He took out his iPhone and flashed the locked screen with a background picture of a key.
“That’s it,” he said proudly. “You just unlock it and enter your phone number for your alarm system information. You should really get it. A pretty young thing like you. It’s only $499.”
I tried not to blink too much at the price or the fact that he referred to me as a pretty young thing. Even though I didn’t understand his invention, I inquired no more about it. It was time to read.
“Yeah, I’m working with William Shatner right now,” he casually dropped.
“Oh?” I said.
“Yeah, he is going to do a commercial about our product. He’s totally behind it,” he said, his eyes twinkling more than ever.
“Cool!” I said, trying to end the conversation.
“Ever sold anything?” he asked.
After I explained that I had indeed sold stuff, he said, “You’re tough. And you have a lot to say.”
I blushed, smiled politely, and glanced away. I looked at the ceiling, out the window, at my book, then, mistakenly, back at the man.
“I also read faces,” he said with a shrug.
“Oh?” I asked, expecting him to guess how creeped out I was.
“Yeah, I’ve just told you some stuff about you. You are a good girl.”
I blushed more. My face felt hot. I looked away again.
“Know how I know?” he questioned. “Your ears. Your ears told me.”
I laughed nervously.
“Yeah,” he continued, ”You’re not going to be a CEO, you’re going to get married and have a bunch of kids.”
My face was about to burst into flames.
“You’re going to be a great mom,” he stated.
Thankfully he announced that he was done reading me and I finally got to settle in to read my book. 30 minutes later, I was 60 pages into my book and the man decided that it was time to comment again.
“Have you already read that much?” he asked incredulously.
I thought about answering sarcastically that no, I hadn’t read that much, I was just flipping ahead to see what was going to happen, but I decided to bite my tongue. I simply nodded and continued to read. After a while he left to go to the restroom. I used this precious time to dig out my lunchable. I had been too afraid that he would start another conversation if I had got it out while he was next to me. He returned while I was building my last cracker sandwich.
“I made them turn the air off,” he boasted proudly. “The surest way to get everyone on this plane sick is to blast cold air on them, getting them chilled, and blowing germs around.”
I nodded as though I agreed with him, then I looked back to my book. 10 minutes later he declared that he was hot and turned his air nozzle on full blast. I gritted my teeth and kept reading. The man looked at my lunchables trash.
“Packed yourself a lunchable, huh?”
“Yeah,” I answered. “Sometimes you just have to act like a kid.”
“Wow. I can’t believe you said that, because I carry around this picture of myself at 10 years old to remind myself of that every day.” Sure enough he whipped the picture out of his wallet.
I nodded earnestly and went back to my reading.
Finally we began our descent. The man went through the motions of landing while I thanked God that he was remaining on the plane to go to Orlando and I wouldn’t have to talk to him anymore. As I crawled over him to exit, I wished him luck on his invention. He told me how nice it was to meet me and winked. I ran for the exit.
To enter the bow tie giveaway, leave a comment below to tell us of your strangest travel story. One entry per person, please. Winner will be announced Saturday evening, and will get to choose a custom bow tie from Meagan's vast, original collection!
[edit: Thanks to Danny, Mitch, Karen, and Hannah! You made us laugh so hard that Meagan wants to give you each a bow tie. She'll get in touch with you so you can pick it out. In the meantime, be sure to like Funky Fauna on Facebook!]
|Photo and bow ties by Meagan Rowell|