I’ve been travelling a lot lately for work, and my mind has fixated on the concept of connections. Now, I’m not talking about the connections one must take to get to their destination but instead those moments when you connect with another human being who was nothing but a complete stranger to you only a second before.
I will admit, out loud, that I am a bit of a nervous flyer and while I try to maintain a modicum of calm and friendliness around me before boarding the metal death trap, once I board I’m definitely not the type of person who likes to chat during the flight. In fact, I’m that person wearing noise-cancelling headphones, looking out the window, or focusing intently on my knitting. I try to do, whatever I can to politely not make conversation with the person next to me. I even managed to surpass myself this last trip and created my own portable sensory deprivation chamber (patent pending) by adding an eye mask to my flight toolkit (which already includes the aforementioned headphones and travel pillow), so I could sleep, and stay asleep until the plane safely touches land again.
However, my flight from Charlottetown to Toronto took an unexpected but pleasant twist. I sat down in my seat, surrounded myself with my comfort kit, smiled at my seatmate (fully intending to ignore her and dive deep into dreamland) and then spent the next 2 hours of the flight engaging in conversation. I’m not sure what happened, I was fully prepared to knock myself out for the next couple of hours, so I didn’t have to think about the fact that I was that high up in the sky but once we started conversing we just couldn’t stop. We talked about our lives, our partners, I told her about my dad and she told me about her adopted daughter. We spoke so in-depth that we were both shocked to hear the pilot announce that we were landing and it wasn’t until we were collecting our luggage that we realised we’d never actually exchanged names. We both laughed at that because we didn’t need to know each other’s names.
In the end, we were just two strangers, from opposite generations, sharing stories about their lives with each other, knowing we might not ever see each other again and it was wonderful.