I flew into Dallas this morning.
It was a full flight and being one of those people who don't print their boarding passes until the morning of the flight, if at all, I was in one of the later boarding groups. I managed to find a seat in the front of the plane, squeezed between a couple of female readers.
The aisle reader was a lady I'd noticed in the terminal. She was reading serious literature. She wore socks with her sandals, a denim skirt and her graying hair was in a thin, fuzzy braid that snaked down to her shoulder blades. You've seen this woman, right? You can always trust 'em to be perfectly compatible seat companions. They just want to read.
The woman in the window seat was younger. Short black hair. Kicky black framed glasses. Pale skin. Indecisive. She brought a copy of Cosmo, and a skinny paperback; both of which she ignored as she flipped through all the printed material that was in the seat back pocket in front of her.
We were a very quiet row.
As we began our descent, I put my book away and looked past the pale girl and out the window. Two reasons for that. One, I can't read when the plane is bouncing as it always does on its way down to the ground and two, I always play a little game in my head during landings. It's called "Can I Survive A Fall From This Height?" No real rules, just sort of mentally estimating my chance of survival. My estimates are admittedly unrealistically optimistic, but that's probably normal for us superhero types.
Anyway, as I was looking out the window, the pilot made a weird turn that made the plane feel like it was pivoting on the left side wing. (Port? Starboard? I think port, but I wouldn't put money on it.) Pale girl dropped the sky mall magazine and grabbed for the armrests.
No sooner had he straightened out, than the pilot dipped us violently to the other side. Pale girl was even more so.
I smiled at her and finally spoke. "Nothing like coming into town at a freakish angle, is there?"
"Nope," she said with a nervous laugh. "I really hate to fly."
I smiled at her again, hopefully encouragingly. By now we were very close to the ground and the plane started to dip back in the other direction. I thought I would make some small talk to help take her mind off the landing. I glanced back out the window.
"Hey look! We're flying right over the cemetery!"
Not helpful. Soooo not helpful.