The Strangest People I’ve Met On Planes (Part Two)
The Nationalist’s Light Technician
Mike B. was a character I met on a flight coming back from Philly to Nashville. He looked like he was probably in a band (as most people on flights to Nashville do), and I was really into dating guys in bands at that point in my life. In fact, I was dating someone in a band at that point. I finagled my way into a seat next to him so that I would have someone to talk to me on the two hour drudgery that is United Airlines.
I asked Mike what he did, and he told me he worked for the band The National. Alright, that seemed close enough to my original conjecture. But, like, are you in the band The National? No, No, he told me, but he toured with them full time as their lighting technician. He’d just gotten back from Australia, was heading home to the outskirts of Nashville for the holidays, and then he’d head back out on the road with the guys. Tough life.
He let me listen to his iPod with him for most of the flight; I of course made him listen to my then-boyfriend’s band (which he probably hated), and then the next week, he came to get drinks with me and my friends.
The best part of this story? He joined me and some friends out later that week, and when I woke up the next morning he was in my living room. WHA?!
M. had curly black hair and was wearing pajama pants on a Frontier Airlines flight I took to Denver once. He caught my eye because he looked like an idiot, and the half-panicked part of me thought he was kind of hot. I ended up chatting with him, even though he was behind me and across the aisle, and I soon discovered that he was vaguely mysterious and didn’t seem to hold a real job. This started to explain a lot.
He told me he built a lot of things, like, with wood, so I made a joke about him being like Jesus, and then, of course, we talked about Jesus. Our conversation was interesting enough, but the most interesting part of M. surfaced when we both returned to our like-city and I invited him to dinner with my friends. He showed up at dinner with only himself and a Bonsai tree. Any time a guy shows up to a meal with some sort of greenery, it’s a bit strange. But, Bonsai trees are known for being, like, the one plant that requires the least amount of maintenance possible, right? He brought it, and the night was as weird as it sounds.
Because apparently that didn’t bother me very much, I ended up inviting him over a couple other times and awkwardly smooching him after he drank two Mike’s Hard Lemonades. I know, guys; I really don’t know what I was thinking.
Still, M. continued to hang around, because, well, I don’t really know. But, about a year later (after we hadn’t talked for ages), he built me a custom bookshelf. I told him I would “help,” which mostly involved me coming to the garage he worked in and drinking Sunkist and choosing music while I watched him work and hoped he didn’t try to kiss me again. The bookshelf is great; I haven’t talked to him in a year.