We have now reached the exciting conclusion of this work trip. The rest of my coworkers had an earlier return flight, which meant I had three hours to kill hanging out at the airport. This is key, because I believe the events that followed were a direct result of karma. Karma because during my airport walkabout I passed this incredible jazz trio with a lot of listeners, but not a lot of money in their sad little open music case. So I thew in some money, thanked the group for playing, and walked on to my gate. This is where things got interesting.
Strange Encounter #1
As I'm sitting and waiting for the boarding process to begin, this man comes and sits next to me. He does the polite "hi" as he essentially encroaches in my personal space (and yes, I think a seat buffer is perfectly acceptable and am loathe to sit directly next to someone at the gate) but I smile back and murmur hi, and think that's the end. It was not. I should have known better. He takes this as a sign to engage me in conversation, telling me my smile is beautiful and I should be a model.
Oh noooooo. Sir, you have just gone from polite flattery (you have a great smile) to overboard and unbelievable. You're cheesy and I no longer wish to talk to you. But alas, he then proceeds to not take the hint at my one word answers and ask where I'm flying, what I do and who I work for, how many people work with me, how long I was in town, how often I come to town, how far out of school I am (aka how old are you), and where I got my shoes (this is fair since I was traveling in workout gear and my tennis shoes are pretty great). I learned that he is from Kentucky, some type of engineering consultant (not the suited kind), and is on standby for this flight.
I board and think I have left him behind, but he makes it on the flight, sits four rows ahead of me, and makes sure to catch my eye and wave.
Strange Encounter #2
Obviously this waving got my seatmate interested, asking if that guy was a friend of mine. I then tried to briefly explain that no, I just met him while waiting for this flight... Which my seatmate found hilarious. I don't blame him. We then began chatting amicably although he's a toucher. You know those people that reach out and touch you when they talk? It's usually endearing and draws you in and creates a bond with the talker, but it's slightly more awkward when it's a stranger. He touched my leg, my arm, he poked me while joking. A definite toucher.
To put this in perspective, he was just a nice guy. Four kids, laughed when I laughed while watching Inside Out, traveling with coworkers who seemed normal enough which vouched for his general character. And then I asked for a blanket. This is where things take a turn. He seemed to think this was insane since he, as most guys do, "runs hot" and was quite warm. He then proceeded to TAKE OFF HIS SWEATER so that I could use it as a blanket.
Luckily the flight attendant also returned with a blanket, so I was able to graciously use his sweater off to the side and next to the Delta blanket. I mean.... I can't. So few words. We land, I politely give back his sweater, wish him well, and we deplane. Home sweet home.
Strange Encounter #3
Because you know it couldn't be that simple. I mean, in fairness, does that even qualify as simple?! No, but the saga continues. Gate guy has WAITED for me at the top of the jetbridge. Insert pathetic sad laughing - why is this happening?! So I try to avoid eye contact, pretend to look at the airport signage, and walk right past him and head to the ladies room.
But oh no, when I walk out of the ladies room, surprise, he is also exiting the men's room. I am clearly not getting out of this. Insert the semi-awkward "oh hey - glad to see you made it on the plane" since I obviously can't ignore you anymore. He then proceeds to chat with me through the terminal and tram ride and gave me his card in case I'm ever in the area again because he won't forget the girl with the great smile and awesome shoes and he loves to network because he's just that kind of person. I'm just saying, that was the longest, most protracted one-side flirtation ever for being "just that kind of person."
But at the end of the day, I will say the entire trip was incredibly flattering. Airport strut game: strong