Thursday, June 21, 2007


"Hi, I'm Marc," I said as I strapped the seat belt on.

The guy glanced my way--it was barely a glance, but it qualified--and raised an eyebrow. Nothing more, just that small acknowledgement that really meant he had no real interest in getting to know me. So, I pulled out a newspaper and pretended to read.

I knew at that moment it was gonna be a long, long flight.

And it was just that. More than an hour delay on the tarmac, several hours in the air en route to the deep south and not one freaking word from Mr. Sunshine in 4A.

I really enjoy traveling, especially when I'm able to spend time people watching. And airports are great places to watch folks. You can learn a lot about a person while watching how they cope with distress, and how they treat other people. Most travelers ignore others, pretending that anyone outside their personal bubble doesn't exist. Too wrapped up in personal drama, people simply want to be left alone. Relationships--even ones that are brief--require too much of an investment for people. It's just easier to isolate one's self.

Except if you're a West Virginian.

"You going home?" the guy behind me asked, leaning forward to talk. He couldn't have had a clue if I was coming or going, but something in my affect gave it away.

"I am. It's been a long day and this is my last connection, into Charleston."

There was something different about this plane full of people traveling from Cincinnati to West Virginia. There was an exciting energy in the air; people were talking back and forth about the towns they live in, and the friends they had in common. It was as if these strangers were family who hadn't seen each other in years, and were becoming reacquainted.

It's like we were kin.

"Going home's the best part of traveling, eh?" he asked. I smiled and nodded.

It certainly is.


RedZeppelin said...

How could you expect anything different when so many things in our world are moving us towards isolation? Today you can go buy gas, get groceries, and do your banking without ever needing to interact with another human being. As human interaction becomes less necessary, it will become less common.

I'm not exactly antisocial, but I'm very shy so I'm not going to be the one to start a conversation with a fellow traveler. And if no one strikes up a conversation with me that's fine with me. After all, it's fine if you end up getting along with the stranger, but if he/she turns out to be an irritating bore you have no way of escaping.

Elvis Drinkmo said...

"Going home's the best part of traveling, eh?" he asked. I smiled and nodded.

It certainly is.

I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Kelly said...

Funny you write about this. Damon just returned for his work trip to Michigan. First, his plane was delayed in Charleston. When he arrived in Detroit, they were having plane troubles. So, the plane they brought in was 20 seats smaller. Well, you guessed it. He was bumped. So, he had to rent a car to drive to Grand Rapids. Of course, he had a difficult time finding a car. He had to lie about the rental stating he would rent the car for 3 days (the only way of getting the car). During his flight to Detroit, he lost his car keys. He's tried to get ahold of Northwest airlines but can't get ahold of anyone...just recordings. Luckily, he had an extra set of keys. Finally, he gets home yesterday. Tonight, I'm checking our bank account online and Hertz has charged us an extra $100 from what the receipt says. And to no one surprise, they are closed and can't get anyone on the phone to ask why. Don't ya just love traveling?

Spike Nesmith said...

I must be odd. Going home is usually the least best part of a journey for me. It means getting back to normal, and 'away to abnormal' is far more interesting.

I'd much rather be left alone, though. Especially whilst traveling. Nothing irritates me more than some random tit with bad breath and a crumpled suit asking me all sorts of probing questions when I'd really rather just be left alone. Why does he want to know where I live? Why does he want to know what I do for a living? Why should I care about the recent results or past successes of a local sports team, or the weather, or the price of gas, or Paris Hilton? And, of course, I'm at a complete disadvantage because apparently having an accent deems me 'interesting' and am then forced divulge my life story to any old bored nosey parker who forgot his book or ipod because my parents raised me to be too polite to tell these people to bugger off and not be so damned nosey.

But, again, I'm weird and antisocial. I accept that.

jedijawa said...

I agree with you Film Geek. I tend to initiate small talk and have been told that I'd talk to a tree if I thought it would talk back. When I have met up with someone else who has roots in WV it seems like something just lights up in us both and the conversation just blossoms.

It's nice to be back home again.