October 18th, 2005

Singing John

Bobbie's Wedding and Florida ruminations

Flew Southwest to West Palm Beach. Not a quite direct flight, had a stop in Tampa, but I got to stay on the plane. I wound up in the very last row in the aisle seat with an older gentleman who looked troubled or just exhausted. Someone else decided to sit with us and it was a bit of a squeeze. The flight attendant, Robert, found the dude in the middle another seat, much to my thanks as his statement when he was made aware of the empty seat of, "Great. This sucks." was not something I found to be very pleasant. Believe me, I was not looking forward to five hours of sitting to the right. With him gone, the gentleman and I had room to breathe.

For about two and a half hours I got to listen to my audiobook, and that was pleasant. Had some hot tea and guy in my row was drinking vodka and Sprite. He had about five during the whole trip. Every now and then he would kind of throw his hands up a bit and shake his head. Something was definitely weighing on him. He finally had to use the restroom (this is the first flight I had ever been on where more than three people needed to use the bathroom. I wondered what they were putting in the drinks.)

When he came back, he wanted to chat. *sigh* So, I put aside my headphones and listened. He was on his way to see an old Marine buddy of his that was in Viet Nam with him. He hadn't seen him in 45 years. He told me about his wife of 43 years, his dog, his want of a puppy to train and take to assisted living places and children's wings of hospitals, his fall foliage cruise and his prostate surgery. He reminded me a bit of my grandfather and I felt sad that he was drinking so heavily and that his life seemed lonely but that he was making connections with old friends. Nice guy.

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