Do you think airlines intentionally seat well-known people beside people who don’t know them? Sometimes I wonder.
I don’t think this is the case with politicians. I’ve been seated beside former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, former Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum and current Texas Congressman Lamar Smith and I knew them all. There’ve been more, but these are the ones who made memorable impressions.
Many years ago, I was making chitchat with my neighbor on a flight from Dallas to Washington. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked what took him to Washington.
“I have some interviews,” he said.
I asked, “Job interviews?”
“Press interviews.” He went on, “I wrote a book.”
“Oh, what’s it called”?
“Run, Bullet, Run.”
“What’s it about?”
‘It’s about football.”
When I got home I told my husband I met a man, and something about a football book, bullet something.
My husband gasped. “You met Bullet Bob Hayes?” Only a two-time Olympic Gold medalist, Super Bowl winner and once considered the fastest human being on the planet.
By the way, I still don’t know what hockey legend I met in an airport in April.
Now that I’m a more seasoned traveler, I rarely take airplane conversations past the hello half-smile as I am squeezing into the seat and reaching under my neighbor’s cheek for my seatbelt.
Yesterday I walked into it again. Just a little.
About midway into the flight, after she and I rolled our eyes at each other over some boisterous passengers behind us, my neighbor thanked me for having been quiet during the ride.
We started talking, I asked what took her to the cities she was visiting and she said she was a musician.
Later in the conversation (which she probably regretted starting), I mentioned I wrote a blog. She asked the usual, what do you write about, I said language and life, and then somewhere in there I said I enjoyed writing about song lyrics.
She said she enjoys writing song lyrics and she shared how she approaches putting her lyrics with the music she writes. She shared with me some of her language peeves and gave me some ideas for future blog posts.
She was lovely and I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a plane chat more. I hope she felt the same.
She gave me the name of her group and I gave her the name of my blog.
You may have noticed Word Nymph typically doesn’t mention people by name. I will say I had never heard of my neighbor and chances are you haven’t either. Maybe one day we all will. Perhaps she’ll read my blog and introduce herself by way of a comment.
Granted, in my opening I mentioned four people by name. That’s all right because they’re famous and three of them are dead. Now if they comment…