Friday, May 2, 2014

What my aisle 18 friends taught me about people

I learned a lot of things in April. It was a full month to say the least. Since I have been participating in Emily's Thing's I Learned series, I have been trying to pay more attention in and around me.

I'm learning that when I'm in the process of learning (does that even make sense?) I need to stop and consider a bit more first. Instead of sharing lots of things this month, I'm going to share one thing in the form of a story. Sometimes all I remember is story. Sometimes all I want to remember is story.

Although there are tons of takeaways from this month, and heaviness and messiness and all sorts of other things get in the way of the little things, it's the little things and the daily-ness where I do my best living, after all. 

~~~

The guy two seats down on the plane sat in the wrong seat. Of course, it was the day that there was a lady who needed accommodations with a wheelchair and he was in her seat. Ten minutes later and four people around me who had to move, people were getting irritated that we were behind schedule. Turns out, they had the lady sit right next to me. They asked me if I minded moving in the middle so we could get going and wouldn't be too delayed. I said no it was fine and the guy next to me laughed at the confusing game of Tetris we were playing.

From the start, all of us in aisle 18 talked. I mean, talked. I don't know if it was the way we got started or the fact that the lady seemed so uncomfortable at the whole plane staring at her but she sat down crying. I was stuck in between the guy next to me making comments and asking questions because he was definitely listening to my conversation while I was trying to console the crying lady who kept putting her head on my shoulder and was trying not to mess up her eye makeup.

He would say things like "oh, you get migraines, what do you do for them?" because I was talking to the lady about her recent accident and other pain issues explaining that I've experienced lots of pain, too. Finally, all three of us started talking and carrying on and at one point I think the whole plane was staring at all three of us because we were being so loud.

It was a nice transition from how it got started.

I don't know how it happened but by the end my new friend started snapping pictures of us from her phone and then all of a sudden the guy to my right and I both gave her our emails because (naturally) she asked "how can I get these to you?" We were pretty sure we would never receive them because we had trouble with email process, I mean most people don't take pictures let alone email on planes, do they? Maybe I am behind the times.

It felt like we were acting like we met in some restaurant on the street and became new friends, but no, we were thousands of feet in the air sitting two feet away from dozens of other strangers who were pretending to be asleep but were listening to us talk the whole time.

At the end of it all, when we were getting off and had to part ways, she had to stay on for a minute to wait for the wheelchair and said to us: "Best.Flight.Ever." I feel like that's something people say after a cruise or a beach trip, but not a plane ride? I laughed and we said bye and when I got off the plane I said to the guy, "I'm so glad we could make that more fun for her."

And he said something to me that was profound. He said that she totally did, too. He said that she made that plane ride for us. "She made me laugh," he said.

Duh.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I'm the girl who wants to make everyone laugh, to make sure people are comfortable, to cheer up someone on the plane who is pain. But, at the end of it all, what impression was left but that SHE made US laugh and WE were better off for being with HER.

Of course.

The interactions we have in life are telling. We might go into them because we think people need us or because of our personalities or just because you have an hour to shoot the breeze on an airplane (I'm sorry, I am that person), but the end result is I am different because of you people. The ones that I meet. The ones that come into my life briefly or stay for awhile.

And thank you, Aisle 18 friends. I hope you are well in the world.

I hope you don't mind that I am sharing our picture. It just proves that this thing actually happened.



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