I stumbled across this story in my files today and laughed at the memory. This happened in my frequent flier days several years ago and I still remember what that guy looked like. Enjoy!
I turned around to catch a quick glance at the man who was making all the ruckus down the aircraft aisle. At first I thought he was speaking a foreign language but then realized that he was speaking the rapid-fire Irish dialect. He settled in the aisle seat directly across from me. Noticing my curious glance he looked directly at me and began a conversation.
“What’s your name, bonny?”
I smiled. “Laura.”
He continued his questions in a voice more appropriate for a noisy, crowded Irish pub than for the quiet cabin of the Boeing 767. Filled with weary travelers on a Friday evening, the aircraft was as quiet as a nursery at naptime and the Irishman’s voice was as out of place as an ambulance siren. I attempted to answer quietly so he would follow suit … ahhh … the attempts were all in vain.
As the aircraft rumbled down the runway for takeoff, the Irishman snatched my hand from across the aisle and yelled, “Hold my hand, Laura! Hold my hand! I’m scared! Kiss me! Kiss me, Laura!”
My arm stretched across the aisle as he enclosed my hand in both of his close and held it to his chest.
Oh my goodness! What … ummm … oh … my face is burning so I am sure I am as red as a cherry! Oh! How embarrassing. Please! Not so loud! How do I get out of this?
It seemed the heads of every single person in the cabin turned to our direction. Even the flight attendant leaned forward in her jumpseat to see what the fuss was all about. I tried to don a casual face as if having my name shouted in a silent aircraft and my arm pulled out of socket was something I experienced every day.
The aircraft lifted off and his yelling quieted down. I managed to pull my hand from his grasp and I patted his hands.
“Oh … you’re just fine.”
“I was scared, Laura. I needed you.”
I smiled. I tried to turn back to my book. He took no hint and continued his conversation and questions. In his same louder-than-comfortable tenor, he barked out questions about every taboo topic – religion, politics and sex. For 55 minutes we continued this game – he barking questions and I demurely answering in a soft tone. All the while, neighboring passengers stole curious glances, shot irritating looks and occasionally provided sympathetic expressions my way.
As we deplaned, the Irishman gave me his business card – [Name withheld for privacy] Family Butchers. I still have that card to this day. No … I never called and never will but it’s a good memento of a funny story.