I just boarded the plane and am settling in. Like everyone else, my seat mate is busy with his Blackberry finishing those emails before "the cabin door closes and all cell phones have to be turned off and safely stowed away for the remainder of the flight." He turns to me and comments,"My boss didn't believe me when I said we were cooking our Thanksgiving turkey in a trash can, so I am sending him a picture of it. Do you want to see it?" Here is where I went wrong. "Sure," I said. Now down here, believe it or not, we have friends that are very creative when it comes to grilling and it is not unusual for a metal 40 gallon trash can to be used as a grill. So he proceeds to show me the grill, followed by pictures of the turkey before it was cooked, during the process, before it was served, the bird on the table, etc. (all with running commentary).
Then it takes a turn. He shows me pictures of his wife and daughter. I comment that they are nice looking (what else is a properly raised southern woman supposed to say?) I start checking the emails on my Blackberry hoping that he will take the hint and enjoy his pictures quietly and privately. But no! "Here is a picture of my wife and daughter on our master bed." I don't offer a comment. He continues. "Here they are with our pet dog and cat.(on the bed)" I am scared to look for fear of what they are doing with the dog and the cat on the bed. I glance around to see if I am on Candid Camera - this is geting more bazaar by the minute. I get more serious with the emails on my Blackberry and just hope he will leave me alone.
Then he asks me, "Do you have any hobbies?". Before I can answer (not that I planned to), he says, "I am into drag racing." I do not encourage the conversation. But he goes on to explain how fast the cars go, what kind of car he drives . . . I just tune him out. Are we there yet? I feel like I am sitting next to Will Ferrell in Elf. Remember the part in the movie when he drones on about his journey from the North Pole, ". . . and then I passed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly, twirly gum drops, then . . ."
I think this is the part where my southern upbringing fails me. I have been polite and look where it has gotten me - seated next to some social imbicile who would be a Saturday Night Live writer's dream. In fact, I'm not sure I see the humor in this any more. We have moved on to the Twilight Zone. He is now explaining how he and a friend rent a rarely used airfield to race their cars. As I look at his blue polyester pants and his doc martin shoes, I ask myself, "Just what does this guy do?" Then I start looking for a hospital band, certainly he has escaped from somewhere. I'm thankful I am sitting on the aisle.