She asked me to tell her a story so I offered the tale of Parma Pete and said he dances with flamingos.
She cocked her head to one side and I pulled mine back so I didn’t get smacked with a mouthful of hair.
“Is that a real story, or did you just make it up?”
“Would it make a difference if I said yes or if I said no?”
“No, not really.”
These sorts of inflight encounter are becoming less frequent as I rarely take off the noise cancelling headphones, but that airline that rhymes with Shmelta has shrunk the seats.
Given her constant rummaging in the bag at her feet and my constant shifting we got to know more than strangers want to know.
Granted it was better than the flight before because she smelled good and was relatively attractive the guy who she replaced wasn’t pleasing to be around.
Have I mentioned I was on six flights in about three days and that two of them were yesterday?
No, well now I have and I’ll readily say the guy from the first flight might have been irritated that I responded to his trying to take the entire armrest with a double dose of whatever comes after passive-aggressive.
I don’t know why I thought his name should be Slappy Clam Boy nor can I tell you I didn’t make it clear that was his new name.
Slappy found out that trying to push my arm off of the armrest isn’t a good idea during turbulence because I am clumsy.
Anyhoo, when the drinks and snacks came during that final flight my fellow fliers and I just barely managed to avoid getting soaked with Ginger Ale and that led to the brief conversation.
The unfiltered man who who muttered he was happy not to sit in a sticky mess for an hour got a laugh from two people that led to conversation.
“What do you do?”
“I am a story teller and semi retired Shmata Master.”
“I didn’t know you could master a Shmata.”
“Well you never really do, they keep you on your toes, but sometimes you can convince them to submit.”
“Aren’t Shmatas supposed to be rags or some kind of cloth?”
“S0me might call them queens and some might refer to how lots of Jews were in the ‘shmata’ or clothing business. So yeah, it is Yiddish and it wouldn’t be inaccurate to talk about rags or clothing.”
“What kind of storyteller are you?”
“The kind that tells stories to entertain people or at least tries to.”
“Are you any good at it?”
I said not really and told her about Parma Pete, but quickly got bored and put my headphones back on.
Small talk, even the silly stuff holds less interest when I am too tired to be awake and too tired to just fall asleep.
The lack of details is intentional in this next tale but the choice of music to start may fill in the gaps, or maybe not.
Ask me me if I was nervous and or scared about some recent events and I’ll say damn straight.
I was both…nervous and afraid.
That pissed me off…made me angry, mostly with myself and I made the decision to go forward.
“Do this or die with regrets you didn’t have to carry with you.”
So I pressed ahead and did what I didn’t want to do, faced what I didn’t want to face.
I could give you a line about how it made me a better person and how much I learned but I don’t know if either is true.
What it proved to me again is how powerful force of will can be if you know how to harness it,
Call it the benefit of age and having been to hell a few times more than I like. Gave me a thick skin and the experience to know when I am there I need to put my head down and push ahead or something like that.
Thankfully said experience made me remember that punching Slappy Clam Boy wasn’t going to solve anything and the consequences would leave me more upset.
Can’t say that it stopped me from rooting for him to trip over his bag and be taken away down the moving sidewalk.
That didn’t happen so maybe I can’t influence everything or maybe my guardian angel didn’t want karma to slap me.
And there is five minutes you won’t get back. 😉