Friday, March 25, 2005

Temporary friends

In the beginning of the all-time great movie "Fight Club" Ed Nortons character "Jack" speaks about his temporary friendships he acquaints during his many travels by plane. Now this is a movie which really inspired me alot, especially his whole Fuck-You-attitude towards certain people. He takes shit from no one. I believe Fight Club is one of the defining movies of our generation.

Now, I am here to talk about these temporary friends you meet on airplanes in 10.000 feet altitute. I am someone who likes to travel quite alot and usually I am by myself, thereby get seated next to all types of people. Usually you try to ignore them the best way you can and concentrate on getting the most space for your legs in those tight-rowed economy class seats. If someone tries to have a conversation with you, you usually feel invaded and bothered, since those are people you wouldn't talk to on the ground either. On a flight NYC - LA I came across a male model from Sweden with a funny accent. Or this young pretty girl on a flight to Paris. Too bad her Mom was sitting next to her. There's one particular acquaintance I remember: I was on my way from the U.S. to Europe and was seated next to 80-year old lady, Carolyn from Georgia, the typical southern woman. She started to annoy me from the beginning because she kept making request like: "Could you please help me with my bags" or "Have you seen my pillow under the seat?" and so on. I of course had the window seat and when I needed to use the lavatory it took her like 10 minutes to get out of her seat. She was even talking to me when I was trying to watch the onboard-movie (don't remember which one it was) "Great", I thought, "now I'm a attendant in a retirement comunity". So I tried to make myself as invisible as possible during the 8-hour flight by pretending to sleep or listening to the onboard-radio. She wouldn't mind and kept disturbing me with attempts of small-talk. After a while I just gave up and engaged in a conversation with her.

Turns out Carolyn's visiting her daughter in France who's a portrait-painter. She pointed to the special edition of TIME-Magazine of the 60th anniversary of D-Day in Normandie which I was reading. Her first husband died on Omaha-Beach. She said that another friend of her who was a veteran told her, that Spielbergs' "Saving Private Ryan" was pretty damn realistic and gave him back all the memories. She also didn't bother telling me her whole lifestory and inquiring about mine, so we had a nice chat. Shortly before the landing she offered to give me Grishams "A Painted House" which she just finished reading and she signed it. She also included her eMail-address and told me to contact her and that I should visit her in France and stay at the 8-bedroom house her daughter lives in. But I never contacted her, that's my policy with temporary friends...


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