Two Recent Encounters

October 14, 2011

Wrong number this morning.

"May I speak to Mary?"

"I'm sorry. You have the wrong number."

"Oh, I'm so terribly sorry. I hope I didn't wake you." It was 8:00 AM on a weekday.

"No, I'm in the car, it's fine."

"Well, may you have a wonderful day, and God bless you."

Isn't that nice?

It's on the heels of the tightest, longest flight ever. We were flying from Moscow to Washington D.C. on Sunday. The plane has two seats to each side, and then a middle aisle with three seats each. We've drawn two middle seats between strangers. My row-mates are Russian ladies, one old and fat enough to spill over into my seat, and one young and thin.

The old lady smiles and shifts herself over in a friendly attempt to give me as much room as possible. The young one has a triangle-shaped Russian guitar. We have one too, and I couldn't remember what they're called. (I asked. It's a balalaika. I couldn't conjure the Russian to explain that there's also one on the shelf where we feed the cats, so I let it go at that.)

Mrs. theskinnyonbenny was in the seat in front of me, and when she leaned her chair back, her headrest was about five inches from my face. I fell asleep, and at one point, with my eyes closed, I tried to shift my butt backwards in my seat. The small bit of forward-leaning required for that maneuver cased me to bash my eyebrow line against her chair.

When I woke up, the old babushka had gotten an extra snack from the stewardess pass, and she insisted that I eat. I thanked her and declined; then, I went back to sleep.

I woke up again later (couldn't believe that we were still over Greenland. I felt like I had had an eight hours of sleep night), and she made the younger girl go into her bag and pull out Russian chocolates that they had brought aboard. They insisted that I try a couple. Those were very good.

We chatted in broken Russian and English for a little while, and when there was a pause, a yawn escaped me. The old lady patted my shoulder. "You sleep, you sleep."

Nice people lately.