Some days you have are pretty routine. Occasionally you have a day that goes unexpectedly a different way. Last Thursday was such a day.
I wrapped up my goodbyes to the crowd at the conference I was attending. I get to see these ladies and gents roughly 3 times a year, depending on the conferences I decide to attend. Headed for the Phoenix airport. Short run, maybe 25 minutes from the hotel to the gate. Usually a quiet time, a space to catch your breath. Start the laundry list of things you need to follow up on , considerer the pending pile of work back at the office, and enjoy the knowledge that you’ll be seeing the Mrs and the children sometime relatively soon.
I hop into the dark forest green Escalade, sweet. This is how I roll, feeling all gansta…. Right, about as gansta as Pee Wee Herman. The driver starts right in with the chit chat. He asks about my last name, how long have I been in the country, where my family is living.
Wait… did he just ask me how long I’ve been in the country?
I explain I’m 3rd generation American. Turns out he’s Lebanese and has been here since 1978. Real nice guy. My last name , Saad, is a common Lebanese surname. He proceeds to tell me all about where my ancestors came from, the history of that part of the country and all about the Saads he knows here in Phoneix, and the ones he’s meet in Michigan. He’s really excited sharing all this. He even pulls out his cell and calls one of the two Saad’s living in the area. I have a brief conversation with a young gentleman who seems to not be surprised by this call from the guy driving. I exchanged a few pleasantries with the young man and let him off the hook from this intrusion by his crazy old friend. We arrive at the airport. I settle up and bid my new friend farewell and thank him for the family history lesson.
I now make my way to line line at the counter. I fumble with the self check in and push my way into the maddening crowd. The young lady behind me fights with the self check in as well. She gets shoved into me by an entourage of 12 with enough luggage for 3 month stay anywhere. Next we watch a young guy fight with the machine. He has no luck. The young lady helps him figure it out. Turns out we’re all going to Boston on the same flight.
20 minutes later, a security check, a few last minute gifts for the kids, and an over priced Starbucks I get to the gate. My two on line companions join me. We chat it up for an hour, delayed flight. She’s graduating from Brandeis, he just got a promotion and is moving to Boston. We discuss the various plus’ and minus’ of Boston. Through out the conversation various people sitting around us weigh in with their thoughts and info on Boston and the surrounding areas. We finally climb on the plane and head home.
We meet up one last time at the baggage claim. The conversation continues. We decide to swap contact info. There’s talk of getting together for some beer one of these days. Who knows, chances of that are probably pretty thin. But, it was a markedly different travel day verses most that I experience.
So maybe not so remarkable for some who travel a lot and have these in flight conversations all the time. For me, maybe it was a foray into being more open and approachable as a person, a conscious decision on my part a few years ago to be less of a wall flower. It could have been the random roll of the dice of the universe that a few people heading in the same general direction had some things in common, sorta like a cosmic Yahtzee. My conclusion- be open, take a chance on a conversation. Might just make that flight a little more tolerable.