The Write Word

The Last Seat On The Plane

Some people believe in the tooth fairy.  An enamel loving entity who has a thing for baby teeth; who snatches up the teeth and leaves coins for them.    Why the thought of a winged creature who can get past the locked doors, security system and the guard dog to creep up on you while you are sleeping and snatch  your body parts doesn’t scare little kids is beyond me.  Stands to reason there might be a crazy cousin, like the Toe Fairy, or the Finger Fairy.  Who’s to stop THEM from from coming in the dead of night and leaving a quarter for your big toe?  If these winged ninjas can get past a steel door, deadbolt and Furious Fido, mere tendon, joint & skin isn’t going to him.  Points to ponder.

According to Occam’s Razor, the least complicated theory is usually the correct one; and since my travels are fraught with mayhem, disaster and chaos I can only surmise that there may be a Interesting Travel Experience Fairy.  Not of the winged, wee creature type, but more of a “you reap what you sow” deal.  Seeing that in my tender youth I was prone to pranks, practical jokes and just plain meanness, I am reaping a harvest,  and harvest time always seems to come when I am traveling.

Like the time I was delayed by ANOTHER special search, carted off to the little room and all, only to get to my plane at the last second and be seated in the ONLY seat left.  I was exhausted from a 3 day trip and wanted to pick a seat between two old ladies so that when I fell asleep, and started snoring and drooling, they wouldn’t even notice, seeing how as they would be most likely drooling and snoring right along with me.

Wouldn’t you know it, I was placed in the aisle seat, right beside a pretty young thing who had a near lethal case of the chat-you-ups.   She spent the first hour conversing with a fella on the other side of her; their conversation included his wife and small children.  Then on to the story of her troubled childhood, having been abandoned by her mother and father.  For the last  hour of the flight I squirmed and I chaffed while she bragged on and on about her beauty pageant history, mentioned her extensive experiences as a dancer and party girl. 

After knocking back a few drinks she leans over on him and the conversation turns deeply personal.   She begins to share of the emotional distress she has suffered recently.   She has been abandoned by her boyfriend, who stayed around long enough to father her infant, then moved on to greener pastures. At first the married fella seemed uncomfortable, his answers vague and stiff, but as time progresses, he is more relaxed.  Her physical beauty is almost overpowering, her emotional vulnerability palatable.  Like a moth to a flame, he is being drawn in.

She then extended the oh-so-gracious offer to show him the sights of the city while he was in town for business.  Wouldn't it would be a shame to be in this great city and not see some of the sights?  He agrees, yes it would.  Dinner, we could have dinner, you have to eat after all those long meetings, and she knows where the best places are.  When she popped out with something along the lines of You could come take me out for dinner after I get off work tonight, I know how lonely it is when you are traveling so far away from your family.  It’s just dinner.  If it goes further than that, well, what happens on a business trip stays on a business trip, no harm no foul.   She was talking in a voice loud enough that it caught the attention of the three men across the aisle.  They were slyly elbowing one another and raising their eyebrows. They completely missed the hurt in her voice when she told of her own father who ran out on her as a child. They see her as a good time.  A fantasy moment come true. They do not see her as someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, to them she is not a person, she is an opportunity.

So…. finally like Popeye “I’d taksed all I can takesed and I couln’t taksed no more”. I’d been waiting on someone to step in, and since no one did, I figured maybe that was WHY I’d experienced the delay that made me late and forced me into the only seat left on the plane.  This one.  Ooooooohhhhhh righty then.  Have gun, will travel.

I leaned over her and eyeballed the young man and said in my very sweetest Motherly voice,  “Young man, let an old married woman give you some advice, RUN from temptation.  You have a wife and two little children at home to whom you are the world.  They are relying on you to be a man of integrity, a man who will put them and their needs first. Live up to their expectations”. 

Turning to the buxom beauty I said, in my kindest, gentlest voice, “Young lady, I can tell you have experienced a lot of hurt in your life. I can tell that you have put trust in fellas who have let you down. I am truly sorry for that.  I would like to give you the advice I hope my daughter would receive if she were in your shoes.  Set your standard higher.  Do not accept any less from a fella than one who will treat you with dignity and respect.  If you can get a married man to fall for you, he is not worth having.  Save yourself some hurt dear girl, set your standard high.  For yourself.  For that little child at home.”  Tears filled her eyes; she took my hand and nodded her head.

All conversation in front, beside and behind us had silenced.  The entire plane was deadly quiet for the next 15 minutes as the plane circled and we prepared to land.  When it was time to deplane I looked right into the eyeballs of the men who were sitting across from me with my best “You should have been a MAN and rescued him” look.  They looked at me, then down at the floor.  I know, that THEY know, they should have.  I look at the young married man,  and got a huge grin and two thumbs up.  I get a little nod from the girl.  I walk off knowing it was no coincidence that I got the last seat on the plane, and I wonder when the Interesting Travel Experience Fairy will strike again.