Inside My Head

the literary rantings of Angie Frissore

Planes, Trains & Autombiles, Part 2

Finally.

My least favorite part of flying into Dallas-Fort Worth Airport was the nearly fifteen-minute taxi ride from the runway to the gate, given that the airport itself seemed larger than my hometown.

I deboarded the plane and made my way to the restroom to rid myself of my New England early-spring attire and change into something more suitable for the Texas heat. I had become extremely adept at airport-mini-grooming and managed to transform myself quickly from fatigued flyer to Boston chic before heading out to find the least sketchy method of getting from the airport to the train station.

Within minutes, I had located the various flat-rate taxis which would gladly take me to the Dallas Amtrak station and was on my way. I tried desperately to ignore the feeling that I was risking my life as the driver wove in and out of traffic, continually waiting until the last minute to slam on his brakes, and instead reflected on the conversation I had during my flight with my seat neighbor.

I had been up since three in the morning and was having a hard time focusing on anything other than the moment in which I would be reunited with The Southern Man. A scraggly-looking man was seated next to me, toting a laptop bag made entirely out of hemp, and wearing small wire-rimmed bifocals. I wasn’t sure what to make of him, and thus decided against offering any sort of conversation.

About a half hour into our flight, he pulled out his laptop and I tried desperately not to keep glancing at the screen (but oh how shiny objects do distract me). I soon noticed the same restlessness in him that I was myself feeling.

“Please forgive me,” he suddenly said with a smile, his English accent morphing my impression of him from crazy half-wit to quirky-crunchy-granola. “I’ve been up since three o’clock in the morning and I’m afraid I’m over tired and must seem quite bonkers at the moment!”

I let out a friendly laugh. “Welcome to my world,” I replied as I extended my hand to him. “I’m Abby, and I’m probably just as bonkers right now having not had much sleep myself!”

We got to chatting, and soon I couldn’t help but notice that the man was watching video clips of what seemed to be locations in Africa or Asia, and he soon noticed my curiosity.

“Would you like to see the work I do?” he asked pleasantly, obviously wanting to share his passion with someone. I could see that he was enthusiastic about what was on the video, so I bit. He began playing a video of a small indigenous tribe in Indonesia, whose land he had helped salvage from logging and other international threats. His work was with the United Nations, and he was making a difference.

I was enthralled with what he was showing me, until he asked about the work that I did. I hesitated for a moment, trying to think of what spin I could put on my job to make it sound far more fulfilling than it was. Unfortunately, none came to mind.

I let out a sigh and responded, “I’m a DBA for a national retailer.” Clearly mine was not work that would change the world. I shrugged off the tiny bit of self-loathing this realization had suddenly created within me.

Luckily, this revelation caused a shift in the conversation and before long, we were sharing our political frustrations and I was entertained with his rather spirited bashing of George W. Bush. As we prepared for landing, I kindly suggested that should he value his personal safety, he probably shouldn’t let on about his views once we landed.

“We may be in the US,” I explained, “but this is Texas. People here will fight to the death to defend that man.”

Laughing, his only reply was, “I will never understand you Americans.”

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September 9, 2008 - Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , ,

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