You know you are getting old when an attractive woman sits down next you in first class and says “it is going to be a long flight since I forgot to bring a book” and you look at her, smile and hand her a book to read. That just happened to me. But it made me think of all the interesting conversations I use to have on planes (and some interesting flirtations I should also say). I guess in the good old days when human beings actually made conversation by talking rather than typing, a plane ride was a good time to learn something new from someone you did not even know. I met a number of interesting people and actually have a few friends that I met on flights (the girl friends are long gone J). My first encounter with meeting people on a plane, was a flight I took from NYC to Luxemburg via Iceland in 1964 when I was 19. The flight got terribly delayed. During the flight a meet a number of people my age and we got dumped in Luxemburg at 4:30 am. I ended up taking a train to Paris with a French girl around 7:00 am. She fell asleep with her head on my lap as we rode through the French country side as the sun began to rise. It was sweet beyond words.
One of the benefits of professional success was flying first class. And there I would often meet successful business people and make important connections. I think I found a deal or two this way. But now, we are all protected by our iPods, Blackberry’s, notebook computers and soon, eBooks. We carry on our semi anonymous conversations on facebook. We make our business connections on LinkedIn. We learn about the world from the Wikipedia and we carry an extra book just in case someone forgot theirs and wants a conversation.
Avram, on a long flight there’s plenty of time to flirt and to read. You’re not that old 🙂
So book a long flight with me!
Very sweet – and appreciated by this old lady.
Avram, I find, sadly, that there aren’t that many interesting people anymore. It’s not just that we are protected by gadgets; it’s become a first-draft world where inanity abounds: people shout banalities into cell phones, wiki up a storm of fictional facts, blog to be heard but not to communicate (oh, dear!). I regard the two of us as among the last who respect the art of conversation.
I am glad there are at least two of us. It is hard to have a conversation alone.
I find the most fascinating conversations to be the subtext that is revealed in the gesture, the smile, the sigh, the half phrase that stops when someone cannot find quite the right words, or they don’t want to embarrass themselves by seeming too emotional or touched. So many of us are searching now for the words that are both the truth and that are over-arching in a world of breaking.
If conversations are stymied, maybe some of that is due to that not so many of us have mastered the language (not to mention interior strength) to express the hugeness of the conflicts and love that are in the world. Strangely, those words are actually the most simple. (btw, how do you know that woman actually preferred reading a book than flirting with you?… okay, okay, at a certain age that can tend to come out as “Are you interesting? Are you friend material because I only have time now for authentic goods?” She smiled, right? So bask in the energy. )
Patricia, thank you for your post. I totally agree with your first paragraph. Much communications is non verbal and in away it is the most important and authentic communication.
I do not know if the woman woudl have prefered a conversation with me or reading the book. Her first remark was a invitation to talk. I was actually not feeling very well and want to sleep. My post was just making fun at myself. But I also realized that I had changed with respect to my interest in engaging with new people in the same physical space (I do it all the time on the internet). So, I have changed but then again maybe many other have as well. And yes, age may have something to do it with but frankly, I am still a boy at 62.
On the Internet we can escape or hide or mask; but we can’t escape on a long flight where we’re eating and sleeping next to each other. Way too intimate, way too fast when the bodies are so close. I mean, yipes, people snore and things.
The world of ideas and concepts doesn’t have body odor, and doesn’t feel rejected if you step out from engagement with it.
As we get older (says this woman of 64), we make choices as to what we let in, both ideas and people. Authenticity, even in partying, is required. …. our intents have focused and our goals have become burnished.
This is story is so interesting to me…because I love people…and would
strike up a conversation no matter where I would be traveling….Most
people find offense when trying to open a door to a word or two….
The world as I see it has changed because the art of conversation is
so far removed any more by the internet…..I love words..and you wrote
this story as if I was there with you and I have always known you….
I only travel close to home now, but I still want to know about people
and their interests….I am sorry I was not around for this in 2007…
A good conversation!!!!!!!! Love it! Marilyn
Marilyn, I really appreciate your sweet words.
To tell the truth that the title attracted me here.
I immersed in your sweet words and recalled me a speciale flight last year when i transferred flight from HK to Phnom Phen.
Although not a long flight,but when i set the only empty seat for me(someone had changed my seat) next to a person a moment,i did not know why i asked him”may i see your newspaper”?
I rarely met an attractive man on the plane.But that time when we started chatting (he told me where he from and running a NGO in Cambodia), I felt i did not face a stranger .He was so kindness person.
A pleasant conversation brought me wonderful afternoon.Unforgettable was his inviting smile.
Sometimes, the distance between people just a shoulder.
Avarm,love your words, you are still a big boy that holding beautiful feelings in your heart.