She sat next to me on the short flight from Boston back to Rochester, an impeccably dressed, serious looking business person.
Power all the way. Dark suit, leather bag, expensive watch. Perhaps a very senior executive chasing a deal, catching up with a customer, or otherwise making things happen.
From the moment she sat down she pounded away furiously on her BlackBerry. The BlackBerry is a serious business tool unlike the iPhone or Droid which to her must seem like fancy toys and not real instruments of commerce. As she tapped away rapid fire I thought it may have been the most impressive display of double thumb dexterity I have ever witnessed.
'Ladies and gentlemen, please turn off and stow all portable electronic devices at this time'. It was, mercifully time to go. Good weather and an efficient boarding process would have us on our way right on time.
But just one last email to send out for my new friend. It would only be about 55 minutes of flight time, but still this last message (or three) were still trying to make there way out, racing against the line of other planes waiting for takeoff. 'Ma'am, please turn off your phone now, we are ready for takeoff' admonished the solo flight attendant.
A few minutes into the flight she removed the BlackBerry from her bag, glanced at it for a moment, then returned it to its holding place. Perhaps some separation issues? It is understandable. The BlackBerry is a fantastic device. It allows its owner to quite effectively ignore everything around them in the real world, especially slightly odd seatmates on commuter planes.
I stop myself from my concern for her and return to my reading. I have copies of GQ and Men's Health. Odd choices for sure since I am not particularly fashionable or all that interested in healthy living.
My new friend cracked out the SkyMall catalog.
After a few minutes, she reached back into her leather power bag and out came a small metallic tin filled with an assortment of nuts; peanuts, cashews, and an unidentified third nut (possibly filberts). The nuts are in such a perfect ratio that they could not have been bought already mixed. For a minute I picture my seatmate at home with three separate containers of nuts, (peanuts, cashews, and unidentified (possibly filberts), carefully filling her fancy tin with just the perfect mix, keeping the proportion just so. I think there is likely some classical music playing and an exotic cat saunters on the counter giving her a look that says, 'So, going away again, are you?'
As she samples a few of the nuts, and peruses the SkyMall catalog (what is she thinking of getting - the inflatable floating chaise lounge for her pool, a set of Rosetta Stone CDs to learn French, maybe an ergonomically correct pet food dish?), I am oddly fascinated. I kind of want to know more. Am I right about the carefully constructed mixed nut preparation? Is there really a condescending cat?
I returned to my reading, a nice mix of informative content ranging from just exactly the type of belt my new summer khakis require and strategies to put more power in my breakfasts. Buying belts is depressing and unless Captain Crunch decides to change his recipe, I think my breakfasts will continue to be underpowered.
Final descent now, and I stow my magazines and glance at my seatmate. SkyMall catalog and mixed nuts nowher in sight, and BlackBerry in hand, at the ready. The instant the wheels hit the ground the device is powered on, a (sadly) familiar 'ding,ding,ding' ensues as all the messages from the last 55 minutes are released from their temporary in-flight purgatory. In less than 30 seconds her bionic thumbs are in action, replying, forwarding, deleting.
In 45 seconds I forget about the carefully assembled tin of nuts, the exotic and dismissive cat, the music, all of it. She is so interested in the little device that she is no longer interesting to me, (not that she cared in the least).
I know we saw more before we became attached to our little devices. We miss a lot in our quest to make sure we never miss anything.
I bet she never realized my belt was all wrong for the khakis I had on.