Monday, March 22, 2010

Airplane encounter

Airplane etiquette intrigues me.

You'd think sitting next to someone for hours and saying nothing but hello (if that) might be rude. But it's not, and as a socially awkward introvert, that works for me. The idea of sustaining a conversation with a stranger for hours makes me nervous. The alternative is figuring out how to politely end a conversation with someone I'm (still) sitting next to, and I don't know how to do that either.

Still, when my seatmate talks to me, as my seatmate did on the first leg of my trip on Friday, I try to oblige. Anyone that friendly should be encouraged.

I was going to South Carolina. He was from South Carolina. That's a good starting off point, right? And he was nice, easy to talk to.

Finally I asked him the reason for his trip. He said he was going to DC for a gig. He'd be singing in front of around 700 people.


I'd liked him already. Now I was jazzed. We were so not going to run out of things to talk about in the next five minutes. I briefly pulled my CD out of my purse like a calling card, and we chatted about what kind of music we play, how we got into singing and songwriting, etc.

At the end of the flight, we exchanged CDs. I won't get to listen to his until I'm back in Tucson. Something (besides joyous reunion with the boyfriend) to look forward to when my vacation is over.

Funny. When I got back into music after a prolonged absence, I did it because I missed music. Meeting other members of the tribe is a fringe benefit I still haven't gotten used to.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had your best single-serving friend encounter (yay Fight Club ;) ). Cool!

I've had some good conversations with people on planes, but I've also sat next to someone without saying a word -- it varies but never seemed uncomfortable to me. Usually we talk for a bit, then just drift back into silence.

By far the biggest exception was the time I sat next to a woman who just never. stopped. talking. And as is often the case with these gifts that keep on giving, while she seemed like a really nice woman, I think there was more open space between her ears than you could find in Carlsbad Caverns. Her first question was to ask where I was from. We were flying out of Denver en route to Chicago o'Hare. I told her I was from Tucson. She replied, "Ohhh... Is that a state?"

And no, I swear on my classic Mustang that this truly is what she said, verbatim and with absolute seriousness. Then she told me she was from Iowa. Now _that_ was a difficult conversation to keep going until Chicago, let me tell you. ;)

Ryan Hauck said...

I'm a strong introvert with borderline social phobia so I know what you mean about airplane conversations. I hate sustaining them if they feel artificial, and I absolutely detest initiating them. But if someone is genuinely friendly and interesting and starts up a conversation that doesn't feel forced, I'm more than happy to talk to them. I think people get the wrong idea that introverts hate interacting with people...that's not the case at all. It's just not easy for us to reach out and breach that personal space.

Fireblossom said...

Re: GreyLupine's story, I think I would have told her "It isn't a state. It's a planet."

cinderkeys said...

I have arrived, safe and sound, back on Planet Tucson.

Nobody else talked to me on the planes. Which was fine too. I was pretty happy to indulge my introverted nature. I don't have a social phobia, though, yeah, it's hard to know how to breach the personal space sometimes. It's just nice to be able to fold in and recharge.

Jannie Funster said...

that's cool. I'll have to be sure to carry around my Cd should I find me on a plane again. I mean WHEN I find me on a plane again.

I find putting my nose in a book ususally gets the message across that I'm not in a talkative mood, and weird but the older I get, the less talkative I feel around strangers on planes.

Sweet Home Arizona -- where the skies are so blue...



cinderkeys said...

I always carry at least one CD around with me for exactly such random events. Which reminds me that I need to restock the purse. :)