Bumpy Free Bird

25 Jan

My flight to Boston was pretty empty today. I had an entire row of six seats to myself. Someone in the row ahead of me commented, “Seems like First Class is more crowded than the rest of the plane. For once we have better leg room back here.” He was right.

Maybe it’s because the plane was more empty than usual, or maybe the guy behind me lacked an “inside voice” but for whatever reason, it sounded like a megaphone was hardwired from his mouth to my ear. He shared a row with a stranger, but he took the opportunity to introduce himself to his seatmate and share his various achievements with him – and the entire rear section of the plane.

Make no mistake: he was very important.

After detailing the finer points of Virgin Atlantic’s various classes (“I’ve flown them all – First, Business, Coach… First is something else, like Austin Powers.”) he felt compelled to tell us WHY he travels so much:

“I’m a writer.”

“I’m in a band.”

“I’m a music critic.”

One thing he apparently is NOT (other than modest) is a mathematician, because shortly after familiarizing us with his many talents, he asked, “How many weeks are in a year? Fifty?”

Part of me was enjoying his performance. Obnoxious, yes, but intriguing too. I find people who are that utterly self-absorbed to be somewhat fascinating.

I was mentally debating whether I would enjoy the remaining 40 minutes of my 50 minute flight more or less because of his (seemingly never-ending) soliloquy, when all of a sudden, my breath and his words were taken away.

Yes, the captain warned us it would be rough. But he didn’t prepare us adequately. We didn’t fly so much as we bounced our way to Boston.

The upside of the bouncing? It created a fair amount of tension – apparently enough to silence Mr. Ego for the duration of the flight.

Once we had touched down, however, he picked right up where he’d left off, regaling the poor man behind me with tales of his important life in London and tours with his band. I admit, I had to smile when – as he was winding down his story – he summarized with, “You know, it feels like I’m finally at a place in my life where people are listening to what I have to say.”

It may be against our will, but yes, we are. We definitely hear you.

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