By Kenneth Justice
~ A couple weekends ago I was sitting in the terminal at Ohare Airport in Chicago waiting to board the plane and I was trying to ignore the young man sitting next to me, a pudgy fellow who looked something like the actor Seth Rogen if he were dressed like a college frat boy. The dude was having an obnoxiously loud conversation about his recent weekend of revelry in New Orleans, but the more his conversation progressed the more it began to become an argument,
“Dude, I was so drunk! On Saturday night I lost count of how much I drank and woke up passed on in the bathroom. But that’s no excuse for you to be telling me this s**t!” he said to the person on the other end of the phone
As I sat there all sorts of titles for blog articles started popping into my mind,
—-) “Turn your damn phone off in public…REALLY???”
—-) “Why do you talk so loudly in public…REALLY!!!”
—-) “Obnoxious people and the phones that love them…REALLY???
And as those titles (and a few others that included four letter words) were running through my mind, suddenly the young man turned to me, “Will you talk some sense into my girlfriend please?” he said
“Excuse me?” I said
“Hold on a minute honey” he said into the phone, and then he looked down at his phone and switched it to the speaker setting, “Okay sweetie, I switched it to speaker so this dude can talk with us” he said to her
“So my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend keeps trying to manipulate her and make her feel guilty for not talking with him and spending time with him. What do you think” he said
I suddenly felt trapped and wished we could go back to me merely being upset about him having a loud conversation at the airport. But there I was, the girlfriend on the other side of the phone waiting to hear my ethereal advice, as though me, some stranger at the terminal would be able to solve their little spat.
There was a young woman sitting on the other side of me, she and I had chatted for a few minutes earlier about her travels and time spent visiting relatives in Ohio whom she adored. She had been watching our entire interchange with big eyes, apparently she wasn’t used to strangers having phone conversations with other people’s girlfriends at the airport, of course I wasn’t used to this either.
“Uh…” I stammered, and then I turned to the traveling woman, “Actually, this young woman here looks like she has an opinion about this, what do you think?” I asked her, as though I was some kind of television game show host. I began breathing a bit more easily as I realized I’d gotten off the hook from being involved in this little spat between the two lovers. Having worked in various levels of the counseling profession, I knew better than to get in the middle of a lovers quarrel when both parties were hot and heavy.
The traveling woman gave me a surprised look, she clearly didn’t expect me to rope her into this strange conversation, she swallowed, and then spoke clearly and precisely,
“Well sweetie, are you still good friends with the ex-boyfriend” she asked, I nodded approval to her, as though to say, ‘that was a good question to steer things away from us’
So there we were, three strangers at an airport, and a girlfriend on the other end of the phone, having a conversation about relationships and ex-boyfriends. The frat boy seemed really pleased with how things were going, apparently he felt that Traveling Woman was asking the girlfriend good questions.
I leaned over and whispered to frat boy, “So you’re really into this girl?” I asked
“Dude you don’t know the half of it! I’ve never been into a woman this much. She’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever known” he said. And then he said into the phone, “Hey sweetie, hang on one minute I’ve got to show these nice people your picture so they can see what you look like”, and with that he clicked his phone to the gallery section and brought up a picture of the young woman,
“Is that not the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen?” he asked. Of course I agreed, how could I say anything else, the girlfriend could hear everything that was being said.
“What do you think?” he asked traveling girl
“She’s very pretty” she said with a smile
Eventually the frat boy turned off the speaker phone and went back to a private (yet still loud) conversation with his girlfriend. Traveling Girl turned to me,
“What the hell was that about? I’ve never seen anything like that before” she said
“What do you mean?” I asked
“Some stranger just starts talking to us at an airport terminal and then has me talk to his girlfriend? What the hell is that all about?” she said
I smiled, “Well, I think you’d be surprised how much people really want to connect with other people. I think it’s in our nature” I said
“Who are you by the way” she asked
“Nobody special, just a dude who enjoys a nice cup of coffee” I said
Categories: Culture & Society