There are those flights where you want to sleep. There are those where you pretend to sleep. And there are those where you give up on sleep, because the person next to you insists on making conversation.
My flight last weekend to Dallas was the latter.
My friend Scott and I were headed to Texas to reunite with our best friends from college.
We flew Spirit airlines, my newest little secret. They keep the costs low by providing the bare minimum and you pay for the “extras”.
Print boarding pass for $10 at airport? …or print it at the public library.
Buy beverages in flight…or carry on plenty of drank in the approved 3oz. size?
Pay extra to choose your seat? …or not.
Which is exactly how I ended up rows away from Scott, and smack in the middle of an older Greek man and a girl from the Chicago burbs.
The Greek man was a fountain of wisdom. We talked— or rather he talked to me, about his marriages, his son, his work ethic, his homeland, his business ventures, his dreams, his cars, his in-laws, his regrets.
I wasn’t particularly in the mood to share about myself on all those topics. So, I did what the Mizzou journalism school taught me to do and I asked a shit ton of questions. And then just sat back and listened. Free entertainment and I learned some things.
Towards the end, I made him teach me some words in Greek—since I’ve always had a passion for languages. The lesson started. On new word #3, the Chicago girl to my right chirps up, “Are you learning Greek?!” The man acted startled. (To be fair, it had felt like he and I were in a coffee shop, talking like old friends for the past two hours.)
He nodded, that in fact he was teaching me some Greek. The girl then looked at him, big eyes blinking like a character out of a Pixar movie and goes, “I was Greek in college.”
It took every ounce of grace I had to not bust out laughing–from the awkwardness, the hilarity of it, his reaction, and her sincerity.
To fill the gapping silence she continued, “Yeah, we had a pledge that my sorority always said.” Yes, you guessed it. She then spoke Greek to this man, as his jaw stayed dropped.
Keep in mind, this whole time (since I’m in the middle seat) their faces are about four inches from my face. I’m trapped. I can’t look out the window OR make a dash to the bathroom.
The poor thing finished her pledge in “Greek” and the older man just goes, “NO.”
They spent the next five minutes trying to decipher what the pledge was trying to say, in English and Greek. I just went to my happy place.
When we touched down, my new Greek friend told me if I should ever find myself in Greece, I MUST go to his hometown of Sohos and tell them Tony in Phoenix sent me. He promised doors would be opened and plates would be served up. I would see first hand the hospitality he had told me about.
Wisdom, laughs, human connection—what more could I ask for on a two hour flight?