My trip to Nashville over, I arrive at the airport in due time to check-in and wander through the duty-free zones at the airport. One advantage of this international travel is the duty-free shopping which has sadly gone the way of the do-do in Europe now that the Schengen zone covers most of the continent.
The time for boarding arrives and we all shuffle our way through the gate, only to spend time staring at one another’s backs as bags were stowed and seats taken. I sit in the back half of the plane and am disappointed to see that the airline is successful enough to have sold tickets to the seats next to me. I had hoped to be able to stretch out but, unfortunately, this shall not be the case.
The gentleman beside me is a quiet and reserved sort. He watches the safety video carefully and pays all due attention to the announcements made before take off. Since this is one of those planes that does not have in-seat entertainment, I tuck into my book with my iPod firmly clasped to my ears and continue to ignore him.
An hour or so into the flight, drinks are served. I notice that my companion has not yet read anything. He has not even bothered to put on his headset to watch the in-flight transmissions. I glance at him. He is staring at the seat in front of him, carefully redefining the concept of ‘patience’
I keep an eye on him for most of the flight – he stared at the seat-back continuously for the entire trans-Atlantic trip. I’m not sure if he was meditating or, perhaps, dead.