I make my way to seat 8 J on a new Boeing 788 from Buenos Aires to Dallas. Row 8 is all bulkhead seats. Mine is an aisle seat on the right hand side. I’m sharing the row with a middle-aged married couple. They look affluent. I take and instant dislike to them. It’s not the appearance of wealth, I have nothing against money, but it’s that air of “I-am-better-than-you-because-I-go-on-shopping-sprees-in-Miami-”. Blech.
There’s a section of the Argentinean middle and upper middle classes who thinks that Miami is the be-all-and-end-all and love to brag about their trips and how much they spent on electronics and blah blah blah. This couple looks exactly like the people I’m talking about. To me, travel experiences are like religion, in a way. Revel in them, experience them to the fullest but keep them to yourself. Let alone boast about them.
This lady, wearing clothes I recognize from Nordstrom Rack – they’re not such big spenders after all-, puts her carry-on wheelie bag on the floor in front of her and rests her right leg on it. I roll my eyes. Not one of those, please. A type of passenger I thoroughly dislike is that who does rude things on the plane he wouldn’t do at home, like resting his bare feet on the partition wall. I am considering sneakily taking a photo and uploading it onto the Passenger Shaming account when we land in Dallas.
We somehow strike up a conversation. She asks me if I’m OK with her bag there. It isn’t in my way, thanks for asking. I’m drawn to her deep blue eyes and her soothing tone of voice. She tells me she’s been suffering badly from pain in her right leg after she had some kind of surgery. Flying makes it worse so she needs to keep the leg up to help circulation. I ask if compression socks help. Not terribly. I feel sorry for her. It must horrible to sit on a plane for ten hours and hurt all the time. A trite phrase pops into my head. You shouldn’t judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes, compression socks or not.
The dinner service starts. The food and drink carts clang their way down the aisle. We continue our conversation over chicken. Or pasta. We talk a bit about our backgrounds and our families while her husband, sitting in the window seat, buries himself in food and a film.
This lady – I don’t think we exchange names- talks about meditation. She meditates every day. That’s not for me, I say. I’ve tried yoga and found the pace too slow. But meditation helps, she says. “I’ve learned to be grateful for every minute. Every day, I wake up and say thanks for the good things in my life.” And appreciate every moment too, “like this conversation,” she says. It will not take place ever again. Our paths will never cross again.
There’s a spiritual aura about my neighbor that soothes me. I wish we could talk forever. But lights are out, it’s time to sleep. I pull on my eye mask. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I will say thanks for the good things in my life.
****I’m participating in the Yeah Write Weekly Non-fiction Challenge #229****