I have a friend who, if she's flying alone, clutches at the hand of whoever is sitting next to her on take off and landing but refuses to say a word to them at all in between. Luckily, I've never had to sit next to her, but it's always interesting to see who you'll be spending a couple of hours with when you travel on your own. A bit like one of those random prompt generators - OK, haha, so try and make some kind of narrative with this person.
On my recent outbound flight to Minneapolis, I had a guy who had been visiting family in Tripoli and who - literally - took cover when the air steward opened a bottle of wine with a pop because he thought he was being shot at. He gave me his pudding and watched 'Shallow Hal' at least twice as far as I could see, laughing so hard each time that his shoulders shook. When I told him I was going to Iowa, he shook his head - 'you mustn't,' he kept saying. 'A woman like you, no no no, you mustn't,' which was all a bit worrying, and indeed a mystery when I got to Iowa and couldn't see what all the fuss was about.
Coming back, my companion held on to his pudding fast which was disappointing. However, he was one of those born teacher-types and I finished the flight with lists of books I should read, places I should visit and films I should see. To be honest, it was all rather exhausting.
Anyway, I found those lists again last week, and started with the most unpromising recommendation. A film in which an introverted guy falls in love with a plastic sex doll. Hmmm... give me Shallow Hal any day, I thought. Oh, but wrong, wrong, wrong.
We watched Lars and the Real Girl last night, and it was just perfect. Sweet, and life affirming, and funny. Ok, our shoulders didn't shake but I'm still smiling this morning. And now I've got Dan's whole list of films I wouldn't otherwise have caught to work through.
Who needs a second pudding?