I am not typically a fan of the single-serving friend.
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 activitiesâ€”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 toÂ 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 ofÂ 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.
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 searchedÂ franticallyÂ for my xanax and for a way out of this without being the biggest jackhole on this Air Canada flight.
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.