Try spelling Albuquerque 5 times fast

I flew back to Denver last Monday with a few things on my agenda for the day. 1) Take pictures of the Bismarck, ND airport for my parents to see. 2) Take pictures on the way out of DIA to show how easy it is to find your way around.

Along with those items are the basics I tend to take for granted – like getting on the plane successfully, landing, and getting my luggage. Especially on the trip to Denver, I expect my luggage to be on the other side. There are two planes at the Bismarck airport at anyone time. Seriously, only two, and a grand total of four gates. If you’ve never been there, the person who checks your bags basically turns around, hands it to the guy with the earmuffs on, who then turns around and puts it on the plane. Your bag travels all of 7 feet, max. Sure, they have the conveyor belt thing and the mysterious black plastic curtains, but it’s all for show.

I get on the plane, find my seat, and settle in with my iPod and a book – my normal behavior when flying alone. I’m not against small talk or polite conversation, I just don’t find the people I seem to sit next to very interesting to talk to most of the time. Case in point:

A nice looking older woman sits beside me. I give her the 20-something-year-old male head nod for saying “Hello, I acknowledge your existence and admit that we will spend the next 75 minutes in close proximity to each other but this does not mean that we are best friends.” Normally, this greeting is universally recognized. Call me stuck up or snotty; I usually don’t talk on planes to people I don’t know.

The stewardess gives the turn off all electronics devices talk and I take my head phones off. The second they leave my ears:

“I’m going to Albuquerque.” I don’t usually talk, but I’m not a complete ass. “That’s nice. It looks like a good day for flying.”

WRONG ANSWER.

I heard everything from flying in thunderstorm to why she doesn’t like to drive a car on gravel roads in North Dakota in late August because the grasshoppers are so darn bad and get all over your grille and windshield. And I thought to myself “She’s all up in my grille, like a grasshopper” but I figured that comment would be lost on her so I kept it to myself.

I figured my continuing to read my book would convey my lack of interest in the conversation. It didn’t.

“Where are you headed today?” “I’m stopping at Denver.” “And then where are you going?” “Just to Denver.” “Where is your connection taking you?” “This is the only flight I’m going today. I am going to leave the Denver Airport and go into Denver.” “Oh, how long are you staying for?” “I live here.” “Oh, I never lived in Denver. I lived in Michigan once, though.”

What!? At this point I pulled out my sub sandwich to go with the two small iced oatmeal cookies we got. (Thanks to Rhiannon, for always making sure I never go hungry, which can happen in a matter of minutes if I’m not careful.) The nice lady sitting beside me has been watching me the entire flight, and at this point begins to look around the plane. And she’s looking with a purpose, at the people in front of us, the people across the aisle, the stewardess and everyone behind us. I have nearly half my sandwich eaten when she looks at me again, looks across the aisle, swings back to me double-take fashion.

“I was wondering what smelled so good. It certainly wasn’t these oatmeal cookies.”

No, it wasn’t. Oatmeal cookies do not resemble the smell of a chicken teriyaki sandwich. That would just be gross. Hi, I’m the person seated next to you. I’m pretty sure you saw me take out my sandwich. I also think you left your common sense at the check-in counter. Maybe Michigan. Hopefully they have some extra in Albuquerque.