09 October 2007

Plane People: Part 2

Dr. Willitts, if you're reading this, I'm really sorry that I'm writing this instead of doing my synthesis, but sometimes a girl just needs a break from writing verbless, five-word titles to the entire book of John.

And so, with a clean conscience, I wrap up the epic tale of my quest to build some Christian community on my flight this past weekend. When we last left the tale, my Type 2 companion had taken a seat far away from me on the plane. It was back to square one. I attempted to form a game plan as I stared out the window, admiring the baggage handlers' toss and crunch technique.
Note to self: never check luggage again.
I picked up a copy of the in-flight magazine and started to page through it, still wallowing in despair over my botched plan. What to do? I could abandon my quest, do some homework for the duration of the flight, and try again on the return trip, but no! That's not what Jesus would do! He'd make a friend, gosh darn it! There was still a steady stream of passengers making their way down the aisle, so I figured this was the time for action. Putting my magazine away in the seatback, I buckled my seatbelt, folded my hands in my lap, and fixed what I deemed to be a friendly smile on my face.

Phase 2 had begun.

I looked every approaching passenger in the eye as they made their way past. It's only now that I realize I probably looked like a cult member eager to make my conversion quota, but let's not dwell on past mistakes, shall we? One by one, souls potentially in need of a friend filed past me. Perhaps it was my choice of row. Perhaps it was the (possibly) creepy smile on my face. For whatever reason, it took awhile for the seats next to me to fill up. Passenger #1 arranged her carry on in the overhead compartment and sat down, avoiding eye contact and arranging her personal effects, taking out her phone and checking it one last time before turning it off. "That's a slick looking phone," I thought, "It sort of looks like..." Eureka! I leaned over. "Is that the new Razr?" I asked, trying to look as unenthusiastically interested, yet still friendly, as possible. She smiled. I had struck gold again. "Yes, actually I got one of the old ones," she pointed at the phone in my hand, which so happened to match the description, "but then the new ones went on sale so I traded it in." It was friendship at first phone sighting. We chatted for a bit about the marvels of cellular phones (yes, I am old enough to remember a time when they didn't exist) until Passenger #2 arrived; a young woman not too much older than me plopping in the middle seat between me and my newfound companion. Still riding the high of finding another Type 2 to talk to, I attempted to engage her in instant friendly banter a la The Importance of Being Earnest. "Is that a camera bag?" I asked, pointing to the obvious baggage at her feet.
"So does that mean you're a photographer?"

I now know what it feels like to be some hopeless sap trying to pick up a girl.
Gentlemen, I give you credit.

I decided to try for one more conversation starter. It had to be good. Something timeless. Something that could form some community. Something foolproof.
Taking a breath, I ventured, "Are you going home or on vacation?"
"I'm going to see my parents. My camera's sort of going on vacation with me."
More than one word, but the strike out became obvious as she pulled out a bag of Funions and flipped open the latest copy of Elle. No Type 2 here, if only because the only thing more socially revolting than a full bag of Funions would have been a clove of garlic. I considered asking if she wanted the window seat so I could keep talking to Passenger #1 sitting in the aisle seat, but she too was reading a magazine now.

My plan had failed.

Nobody in the row exchanged words for the rest of the flight save for Passenger #1 offering Passenger #2 and myself a piece of gum during takeoff. My attempt at building community seemed to have failed...

...or did it? ::scratches chin::

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