“People are funny,” said the man who sat next to me on the Southwest flight from Baltimore to Tampa this morning.
I nodded and grunted somewhat of a response , wondering why he would sit next to me when there were plenty of other seats available. I moved closer to the window and focused on a crossword puzzle as he continued to speak...maybe to me, maybe to himself.
“The world is going crazy. It’s already crazy! Just unbelievable.”
I subtly nodded, afraid that if I verbalized a response, he’d continue to engage me in conversation.
“It’s like that Pink Floyd song about losing your sanity.”
“Brain Damage,” I mumbled, as I turned toward him.
“And Eclipse,” he added.
“That’s right,” I said as I smiled. I might not be one for airplane chatter, but I sure like the Dark Side of the Moon album.
He continued, as I feared he would: “Hey, I’ll admit that maybe I’m the one who’s crazy. I’m the one who’s losing it. Maybe everyone else is sane. I dunno. I just don’t know...”
I pondered his words as we sat there in silence. The other passengers streamed by and stored their luggage as the flight attendants tried to get everyone in their seats.
A too-big lady sat heavily in the open isle seat and struggled to buckle her seat belt.
“I guess it’s just us,” she exclaimed as she adjusted the armrest.
“Yep. On to Tampa, huh?” And that was the end of that conversation.
My possibly insane or going insane seatmate seamlessly continued where he’d left off: “I mean, who’s to say who’s crazy and who’s normal? I feel normal. You seem normal. I don’t feel crazy. No one has told me I’m crazy. I suppose it’s all in my head.”
“What’s in your head,” I asked.
The large lady in the isle seat looked sideways at us then opened the inflight magazine.
The maybe crazy man just sat there thinking. After a few seconds, I determined that he no longer wanted to speak so I put my head against the bulkhead and tried to snooze.
I must’ve fallen asleep as I was nudged awake with, “Pretzels?”
My obese seatmate was holding two bags of pretzels in her big hand.
“No, no thanks. You can have them.”
She opened and ate both bags as I groggily looked around the plane. My going-insane traveling companion was nowhere to be seen. I thumbed through the airline magazine as I waited for the man to return. Had he changed seats or just gone to the lavatory?
After a few minutes, I turned to the big lady to my left and asked where our fellow traveler had gone.
While brushing crumbs from the front of her blouse, she responded, “Who, honey? It’s just us.”