Monday, March 18, 2013

Such Characters!

Travel is frequently about the people and since hubby and I are those annoying elderly talkative types that you try to avoid on the plane, we were able to meet a whole slew of interesting souls on our travels down and back.  I have given them made-up names and maybe they would work in your next novel...just give me a little credit and think about the test I give at the end.

Flight #1

Melia:  I boarded the plane behind a thin wisp of a girl in her teens weighing no more than 90 pounds.  Her dishwater blonde hair was pulled up carelessly in a pony-tail and she looked very sleep deprived on this early flight.  Hanging limply over her shoulder was a tiny vomit-yellow patent leather purse and she clutched to her chest, like a life-saver, a beige pillow larger than her as she squeezed into the seat in front of us.  (What was unique is that she was on both of our planes down to Mexico; and we also were on one of the same flights back a week later.  She had not changed her appearance, attitude, or her soft round companion.)

Juan:  My seat companion was in his mid-thirties, stocky with close-cropped spikey hair shiny from some tonic.  He had a pleasant round face with a gentle smile and Latino coloring.  He was retuning to California from the east coast where he had done some consulting as an electrical engineer.  I learned that he had been a policeman in Los Angeles but quit after eight years because of the corruption he saw in the police force such as racial profiling.  He was most proud of his 12-year-old son who was a baseball all-star in the community and even the state and Juan was hoping to make the connections smoothly so as to not miss one championship game that evening.  Juan eagerly pulled out his cell phone to share a series of photos of a this kid in a crisp baseball uniform who clearly had great form in his swing.  Juan was distracted and somewhat quiet later in the flight and it wasn't until several hours later when we arrived for our brief layover in Pheonix that I learned he was fighting the flu!

Flight #2 out of Pheonix

Bethany:  A lovely 15-year-old girl of mixed ancestry bubbled into the window seat next to me.  She had this seat while her mother who appeared white sat with her younger brother who appeared to be black across the aisle.  Bethany was full of energy and unlike the other teenage girl so eager to get to Puerto Vallarta.  I asked her if she was on vacation and she grinned and said that she was on a work trip for Eagle.  Hubby thought that she meant a small airline, but I guessed it was the clothing company.  I still could not understand why she was flying all that way for retail work when she explained that she had entered a modeling contest and while 20 others had won, she was selected anyway as an extra because of her 'niche' look.  She had a lovely face with big brown eyes and a head full of shiny curls flying every which way.  Hubby thought it was a luxury trip for her but I knew, as a photographer, it meant long days of work in early and late hours outside the window of the mid-day flat sun.  I was glad to see that as a minor she was being accompanied by a parent!

Our plane had a late start due to some delayed passengers on a connecting flight and thus the stewardess did some switching so that the girl could sit next to her mother and the window seat became empty once again for a brief time.

Manuel:  This handsome 23-year-old flew into the plane crashing and pushing his carry-on into the overhead bin with high energy and required both hubby and I to move once again into the aisle so that he could take the seat left open by Bethany.  I learned, before he fell into that abandoned sleep that only single college males can conjure, that he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania and on spring break.  He had decided only the night before to join some friends in Puerto Vallarta and booked this flight.  I could not help but be a little jealous over how nice it must be to be rich enough to head to another country on spring break while still a student in college.  (I was waiting tables on spring break.) He said he was a finance major, so I also squeezed in some digs about hoping he was planning to give the wall street profession a better name.  He smiled and said he was planning to make money.  I also learned he was fluent in Spanish as his father was from Columbia and his mother was from Costa Rica whch he shared as the plane took off.   Soon he had lowered the tray and fallen into a deep sleep to prepare himself for a week of drinking and beaching and bikini watching.

Flight #1 heading home

Mark:  Another good-looking male sat beside hubby on this flight, this time in the aisle seat, while I took the window and forced hubby to sit in the middle.  I am guessing he was in his mid-thirties wearing a nice white polo shirt that complimented the tan he had acquired in Mexico.  I talked little since hubby was doing the interrogation this flight.  Mark was not married, had no children and was glad of it as he seemed to be in a place (perhaps permanent) in his life where he could remain footloose and carefree.  He just shook his head as he watched the various families settle in with babies and toddlers for the flight.  Mark was a biochemist and worked for a company that made mulch.  The biochemist part seemed to have something  to do with the various colors that mulch comes in these days.  When interrogated further about the addition of tannins he made it clear that if he leaked even the smallest information on the formulas he would have to kill us.  He was good at getting hubby to talk about himself the rest of the flight...although in reality this is not difficult.

Flight #2 heading home

Veronica:  Our last victim companion on our last flight was an attractive woman in her late forties or early fifties with shoulder length blonde hair and upper middle class make-up.  She was over-weight, but not obese, and dressed in jeans and a casual top accessorized with fashionable chunky jewelry.  Her smile was warm and friendly and her eyes were bright and intelligent.  She got the aisle seat next to us, lucky girl, while her husband had been assigned a seat several rows toward the front.  She had just spent a long weekend in Palm Springs "holding down a chaise lounge" while her husband had attended a bankers conference there.  As we talked we learned she had been a lawyer who had worked in the juvenile justice system before leaving that stressful venue and changed to the professional contracting business.  She took foreclosed properties and remodeled them and then sold them.  With the inside track provided by her banker husband I am guessing she made big bucks which she was putting toward a vacation/retirement home on a lake somewhere in North Carolina.  At one point during our extensive conversation she asked my husband if he believed in global warming.  We are always surprised by those who think it is a hoax by scientists (all 10,000 in ca-hoots across the globe) to raise more research money.  We tried to provide some facts, although it is complicated, to moderate the effects of the kool-aid she was being fed by her conservative colleagues.  She was enjoying this time in her life with her kids off to colleges or soon on their way, and she now had the freedom to travel with her husband and also plan for their future time together.

OK.  Now, if you want a writing exercise, be brave and take one or more of these and make a tapestry of words for a brief story that I can read and enjoy and let me know of the link-back in the comments below. 


  1. you are invited to follow my blog

  2. thank you for my morning smile
    as it pours rain here by the woods.
    enjoy so much
    reading all you share :)

  3. Delightful descriptions. Not sure that all the described would seem so delightful... think we might gravitate towards yourselves: birds of a feather flock together, and all that!

  4. hehehe.... nice characters. You meet colorful ones on a journey...but more on a train journey than on a flight, I suppose. I traveled once throughout the length of India, and met an amazing cast of characters!!!!

    Writing exercise...hmm... will try it out. :-D

    One small request:

    I've written a post about a Fellow blogger, Nick!! He lives in Louisville, is aged and in some dire-straits---financially and health-wise. Some of us pooled up a few hundred dollars of donation and sent him over Paypal. I've also requested many of my Facebook friends to help him out, but don't know how willing people might be to help a stranger.

    Could you please write a small post about him and provide a link to my blog-post? Maybe some of your readers and friends might be inspired to give him some assistance--financially or otherwise.....!

    Thank you.(sorry...could not find any other way of putting this request across. )

    The link is:

  5. My name is Melia. Recently I traveled to and from Mexico hoping to go unnoticed. Such was not the case when a couple of curious American's were on two of my flights. They could not take their eyes off me. Often people stare because they think I am a child traveling alone. My hope was they were not law enforcement preparing to bust me for the cocaine in the pillow I clutched tightly.

  6. All I can think is that I am glad you did not get the flu from Juan and have a vacation ruined.

  7. Love what Grannie Annie wrote!!

    I enjoy watching people while traveling, but I seldom speak, unless they engage me in conversation first. I envy you the fluidity to do that.

  8. Absolutely love what Grannie Annie did with this. She took details and turned them into clues...fascinating.

  9. Sounds like a population from a Maeve Binchey novel. I will give it a try but no promises. I'd be delighted to find you two next to me on a plane.

  10. What fun and great descriptions.

  11. I enjoyed reading about the characters you met. Someone will turn this into a juicy story and I too love what granny Annie wrote. Very entertaining.

  12. I would love to sit next to you and your hubby on a flight! :)

  13. Anonymous12:57 AM

    Oh, what great descriptions of the people you met!

  14. oh you are right up my alley now...i love meeting people along the way...they all have such stories...and i like to hear them to see how they match the ones i write for them in my head...smiles.

  15. Oh no,did you eventually end up with 'flu? You are obviously a great people watcher and someone who encourages other travellers to share their story.

  16. Just a delightful journal. LOL Fascinating. The one guy so selfcentered. I just don't like catching their bugs.

    Great entry.

  17. Wish I had the energy now to think about your challenge. It'll have to wait.
    I am surprised at all the info you were able to get out of the folks! I would've been much quieter...

  18. i must have overlooked that header when i was here the other a cool picture...

  19. What fun! I should follow suit, as I seem to attract the chatty-cathy's when I travel, also. I never thought os making notes lie this. thanks for the idea!


Take your time...take a deep breath...then hit me with your best shot.