Monday, November 30, 2009

The wisdom of Antonio Banderas

I never, ever talk to people on planes. I’m the one who pretends to read or sleep - anything to avoid becoming someone’s captive audience.

I’m sitting on my seat and looking out the window and thinking, “we’ll never take off, because it’s snowing too much.” And I turn and see this guy. I feel like I already know him and that’s what I’m thinking when I realize he’s talking to me and I’m not listening.

“You’re sitting in my place” he says, possibly for the third time.

“Impossible” I think. “He doesn’t know I wouldn’t do that”.

I pull out my boarding pass and realize that when I sat down, I looked at the row (13) and completely disregarded the letter (F). My actual seat is clear on the opposite side, my suitcase is snug in the overhead bin and because of a full flight there is no remaining space. If I move, I’ll have to check my bag or leave it where it is and wait for everyone to disembark to retrieve it.

So J and I become allies in my predicament. He looks down the aisle, keeping an eye out for people getting too close to where we are sitting and when someone finally, inevitably comes to claim the place I’m in I say “I’m travelling with my friend and we wonder if you mind sitting in my assigned seat”. (He half-heartedly, yet graciously nods and saunters off. Phew.)

I end up being right about the snow. We stay on the runway for almost two hours while the (old) plane is de-iced and checked. I barely register the delay, because J and I are talking. About notebooks and what we write in them (he likes them blank, I prefer them lined.) The lists we make. What we consider noteworthy, and how we take notes. We offer one another quick glances at the secrets that we scribble, not to read but rather to appreciate the esthetics of the annotated page. We talk about books in general, then specific titles we recommend (we both write it all down, naturally.)

We talk about movies. Art and some of the artists we like. Languages. Words. We talk about love, and our demands on it. About the importance of having clear priorities. About being alone. We talk about silence. About god. We talk about politics. We talk about our parents, and our upbringing. Most of all, we talk about food.

A two and a half hour flight ends up taking more than four hours, and when we land, I’m kind of bummed. J walks around the airport with me helping me find Luca, and we wave goodbye.

I never thought I’d quote Antonio Banderas, but he makes a good point. If you never talk to strangers, you’ll never make any friends.



Carol Miller said...

First of all, while I catch my breath, are you QUOTING Antonio Banderas or was he in the seat next to you? Because if he was, I cannot tell you how impressed I am. And if you're just quoting him, you picked one of my favorite people. He got brains, talent, looks and charm, so he must have been first in line when they were passed out. And by the way, I prefer my notebooks lined. Awaiting reply.

David said...

Fabulous story! And you've reminded me of the fashion designer I once got chatting to....for five hours to New York. If I could remember his name, I could have a free makeover (funded by me) anytime I'm in New York!