November 4 11

I am not typically a fan of the single-serving friend.

(Many of my best friends will not get this reference, I realize. Her. And her. And her. And that is just a damn shame.)

The reason for this, mostly, is not because I am unfriendly. No really, it’s not. The reason is simple. I am a big fan of sleeping on airplanes. I used to prepare myself with an arsenal of in-flight activities—books, movies, magazines. I used to bring snacks and drinks aplenty with me. And then, I would fall asleep. Before take-off. And wake up as we were touching down at my destination. This happened around the time I became a parent. Once you become a parent you can begin to understand what flying without a child is. A blessing, really.

It’s interesting that I say this, of course. Calling it a blessing. Because, truth be told, I absolutely hate flying. Hate. I hate the stress of having to make sure you are at the airport way-too-early for a flight (What if there’s traffic? What if everyone in the world is flying that day and the lines are 87-people long? What if there’s an 8-car pile-up on the highway and it takes four hours to get to the airport?). You guys, you don’t even know. Genetically, I am predisposed to arrive for flights several hours too early. My mom used to conveniently tell us the wrong flight times so she could have our family airport-ready. I am also genetically predisposed to anxiety. The combination is superfun. So, I arrive early. Stress #1.

I hate the stress of customs agents. Even though I have done absolutely nothing wrong, my body language and my garbled-speech patterns send red flags to customs agents. “What are you doing in the United States, Ma’am?” “Well, I, um, I, am, um, going…I swear I’m not doing anything illegal, officer!”

I hate the stress of the security process. I am always the person who forgets to wear socks and then has to pretend like she is not walking across an airport floor with BARE FEET. I am also always the person who forgets to not wear her mismatched striped and polka dotted socks underneath her boots. It turns out, interestingly, based on the number of times I have been laughed at, that security people do sometime have a sense of humor. I am also that super awesome lucky person who get quarantined and patted down and gets the extraspecial treatment of having her palms patted down with white paper, because, yes, I’m hiding all my cocaine…under my skin?

I hate the stress of possible, you know, crashing.

I hate the stress of THE GERMS. You know, the ones that are circulating the small-enclosed space every single time someone coughs? I mean, have you seen that scene in Outbreak when Dr. McDreamy is infecting an entire plane full of people?

I hate the stress of turbulence. Of possible motion sickness. Of possible motion sickness of those around me.

Flying and I? Not best friends.

But, you guys, when I fly alone. It is a blessing. Because as a parent, I live my life perpetually tired. And on the airplane alone? There’s no one needing a butt wiped, there’s no one needing me to pour any drinks, there’s nobody needing help with homework. So, I can plop myself in my seat and sleep away the stresses of my flight. I can sleep through turbulence. Through motion sickness. Through germy coughs.

Who doesn’t like naps?


But, because of this, I don’t like single-serving friends.

Until yesterday.

When I crawled into my seat beside the man who bore a striking resemblance to Lester Bangs, I assumed I will sit down, smile politely, and then be drooling and snoring away the rest of the flight.

But then he started talking.

“What brings you to New York?”

“How long will you be there?”

“Do you love New York?”

OH SHIT, I thought. There would be no nap today. I searched frantically for my xanax and for a way out of this without being the biggest jackhole on this Air Canada flight.

But then.

He started talking.

And he basically was Lester Bangs. Except it was Billboard and not Rolling Stone. And he didn’t have a mustache. And he was, well, alive. Billboard, you guys. BILLBOARD. We talked about music for the entire flight. The entire flight. I mean, he was dropping drinking with Joni Mitchell in Yorkville in the early 70s references. We talked about how the music industry used to be, how it is now. We even talked about my search for that song from Hart of Dixie that I couldn’t find. (I found it!) And I didn’t want the flight to end. I wanted to hear more. About people he has interviewed. People he knows. People he drank with. People he hates. People he loves. People he critiques.

And now I’m wondering how many single-serving friends I have passed up.

Maybe I need to stop napping on planes.


  1. I don’t usually like single serving friends. Every once in a great while a gem like your Lester Bangs will come along. And I’m ok with that. But for the most part I just want the quiet and the sleep and the not sharing of germs. And I got your reference.


    Comment by Carrisa on November 4, 2011
  2. THIS: “…what flying without a child is. A blessing, really.”



    ali replied on

    I got his name.
    And his card. :)


    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on November 4, 2011
  3. Reeva and I were like “Haha, poor Ali, talking to that man the entire flight!”

    I hate flying and everything having to do with flying, too. Except I do love airports, not GROSS LaGuardia nad their poison coffee!

    LOVED seeing you yesterday. I adore you! xoxo


    ali replied on

    UGH. LGA is grody.

    I miss you already.


    Comment by Loukia on November 4, 2011
  4. I NEVER get anyone interesting to talk to. EVER. And I hardly sleep.

    Also, I guess I should watch the movie this weekend now.


    ali replied on

    ahem. I told you to watch it LAST weekend…


    Comment by Kristabella on November 4, 2011
  5. I don’t usually like single serving friends. Every once in a great while a gem like your Lester Bangs will come along. And I’m ok with that. | :P


    Comment by malunggay56 on November 4, 2011
  6. I generally keep to myself when flying alone. I bring my kindle, my iPod and my eye-mask, so I can doze.

    But last night flying into Atlanta was tricky. As we were descending, we hit some turbulence, and because we were on approach, it was time for all electronics to be turned off. The lady next to me realized my anxiety, and she spent the last 20 minutes of our flight talking to me about work and her children and other things to keep me distracted.

    I felt so blessed at that moment to have a single-serving friend.


    ali replied on

    We had THE WORST turbulence ever last night too!

    Wish we had more time and I could have seen you. BUT, I will be in Atlanta over the holidays! wheee!


    Comment by Darcey on November 4, 2011
  7. Cool, I actually prefer to keep to myself as well when I’m flying alone, but nice to talk to someone interesting for sure!
    Did you tell him you have a blog? :)


    Comment by sarah on November 4, 2011
  8. What about saying to this guy.. im sorry for being rude but i havnt slept for more then 5 years, because i wiped my children butt all this time :) do u mind if i take a nap, instead of talking to you


    Comment by barak on November 4, 2011
  9. Good to know I’m not alone… I fear pooping my pants when the fasten seat belt sign is on.. even though I don’t need to go..but what if I did? WHAT IF I DID???!!! My husband calls me David Puddy as I sit and stare at the back of the seat in front of me. Bliss.


    Comment by Suzanne on November 4, 2011
  10. There’s something about airplanes (and long bus rides) that tends to make me want to meditate. I like taking solitary me time around people, and when traveling is kind of an ideal time to do that. So, for a long time I was really closed off to talking to the people around me because I kind of thought it rude that someone was interrupting my me time…. but over time I’ve gotten more open to talking to my fellow travelers if the opportunity arises. You never know where you might meet somebody interesting.


    Comment by nikkiana on November 5, 2011

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