A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Virginia to visit my sister and her children and to help out while her husband is at sea on deployment (for the Navy). This trip marked the first time I flew, alone. It was a lot like flying with Shawn except I was free to do the thing I love to do the most: people-watch. I could sit in an airport (or mall or event) and watch people wander by all day long. I don't know why I have this fascination. I just do.
I like to evaluate people around me and try and decide what their stories are, what their personalities are, their backgrounds, their destinations. It's fascinating. This particular trip brought a host of characters. The most memorable was an older gentlemen with white hair halfway down his back. "Impeach Bush" was the saying on his hat and "Arrest Bush" decorated the front of his t-shirt. Still going strong into the next President's term. Now that's dedication.
Then there were the ladies from Wisconsin. I had a nice chat with them while waiting in line for my tickets and through security. The three of them were off to Arizona for a long, girls weekend. Why Arizona? I have no idea but the one I refer to as the spokeswoman was an elementary teacher. They were all teachers in fact but she was strikingly nice and polite. So much so that I felt the need to keep in close proximity of them for as long as possible. I hope they had a great trip.
One of my neighbors on the first flight was what I would refer to as a "hip grammaw." She was a petite little thing with perfectly curled and brushed white hair, held very firmly in place with lord knows how much hair spray. She wore bright red lipstick, dark eye makeup and tons of rings on her fingers. She was reading Dean Koontz and dawned impressive reading spectacles and a neck pillow at all times. She was one of those women who winks at you after she says something, smells refreshingly nice and you know will have a full stash of Kleenexes and/or gum if you need it.
Or course there was a whole slew of "typical" travelers. The lady carrying on the small dog who complained very loudly on her cell phone about the cost of flying with a dog the entire time until she boarded the plane. The guy who you guess might have been in the services back in the day. He had on a white t-shirt, a black (service) hat and an old, green, stretched and faded tattoo on his upper bicep. Most memorable? He had a handkerchief. Not just any handkerchief. The good ole blue ones with the funky white designs on it. I can't get over handkerchiefs. Blowing your nose over and over into the same article of clothing and then carrying it around with you? Ew. But that's a whole different blog.
Finally there were the "business travelers." I was waiting at the gate for my flight home from Virginia and happened upon a room full of business men. Not women, men. All dressed in button-down shirts, slacks and a computer and/or cell phone attached to them at all times. Obviously very busy, it was funny just to watch them and wonder what they were working on and what had brought them to this particular spot. I have to imagine the nostalgia of watching people or just being in an airport to fly somewhere new has worn off of them sometime ago. That's too bad. I hope to never be one of these travelers.
I was impressed with myself for initiating as much conversation as I did with complete strangers. Everyone knows that Shawn is the talker. I guess now I can start to understand his habit. While I sit quietly and make up stories about people, he just flat out talks to them and learns about them through their own words. I'll have to give it a try more often. If I hadn't on this trip, I wouldn't have met an individual from Pittsburg who had just returned from visiting a Navy flight carrier and who wouldn't stop asking me about my iPod Touch and Favre, once he found out where I was from. He reminded me of a teacher I know who has strings attached to his glasses, a face full of hair and who just sounds… intellectual and someone you'd want to have a conversation with.