Sunday, November 4, 2012

Character Study

Boston to Baltimore

The man next to me on the plane: thin, prissy -- the kind I would type as a D.C. policy wonk -- fusses through his briefcase for endless minutes, finally pulls out a packet of Wet Ones sanitary wipes and places them in the seatback pocket, along with a baggie of walnut pieces.  Wet Ones? Oh God, a germophobe.

Next comes out a gallon freezer bag jumbled with pens, highlighters, charger cords, and miscellaneous electronic paraphernalia, which he begins to dig through with the nervous attentiveness of a raccoon in a trash can.  He fishes out a highlighter then checks his cell phone for messages.  Putting the phone into the briefcase, he retrieves a manilla folder as thick as the Springfield, Missouri phone book.  Removing his glasses, he extracts a brief of some sort from the folder and briefly peruses it from six inches in front of his face, then goes for the next one.  Then another.

All of this has transpired within minutes.  I'm almost dizzy from the swirl of activity when I would typically be praying our plane will get off the ground.

I take a deep breath and attempt to work my way inward, throwing up my force field as neutrally as possible  in an attempt to buffer my morning against the sheer forces of caffeine, multi-tasking efficiency, and big city energy.  Christ, these people need a farm to work.  Some way to channel energy.

The man puts away the manilla folder and turns his attention to a USA Today that has appeared by some magical sleight-of-hand maneuver, focusing down with the same nearsighted intensity, but not before first extracting a Wet One, methodically and meticulously cleansing his fingers like a pre-op brain surgeon before pinching out a ration of nuts.


  1. This cracked me up! And I didn't know you had a blog. Sorry not to have been here before. (& happy to be here now.)

    1. Thanks, Woodbird.
      I read your blog with interest. Glad you dropped in.
      "Stay all night, stay a little longer,
      dance all night, dance a little longer.
      Pull off your coat and throw it in the corner,
      Don't see why you can't stay a little longer."
      Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan - 1945