On September 25th I was on a work-related trip that involved air travel. I thought about how in just three months I would be celebrating Christmas with family and enjoying a little time away from work. But then I realized that someone else on the plane must have been thinking about the holidays too and he must have been a little anxious about it all.
When I boarded the plane, I noticed a lady carrying a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. As she carried on her doughnuts she chatted in a foreign language with the women in front of her. Actually, I’m not sure if ‘foreign language’ is an appropriate term to use these days. I’ve lost track of what we can and cannot say-even when it’s not meant in a negative way. So perhaps I should just say, “In a language I did not understand” and then I won’t get into trouble.
As it turned out, I was seated right next to the two ladies speaking a language I didn’t understand and the doughnuts. While the doughnuts smelled good, I didn’t get one. Instead, I got a bag of airline pretzels packaged in a shiny silver bag that made a crinkling sound when handled. You can imagine all the crinkling that was going on as passengers ravished their free bag of airline pretzels. It was like they hadn’t eaten in several days and those 10 pretzels were going to save them from the brink of death. The good thing was that it didn’t take long to eat the pretzels so in less than 5 minutes the bags were empty and discarded and silence returned as everyone began to beaver sleep or play games on their small electronic devices. Everyone except Chris Crinkle.
Chris was the man sitting across the aisle in the window seat and wearing headphones. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him holding that crinkling pretzel bag in one hand and massaging it like it was a stress ball. Over and over he squeezed the bag holding it this way and that way-just like you do when you are worried or anxious about something-such as the upcoming holidays. I know he has a big job and this is probably a busy time of year but I wanted him to stop and so did the doughnut lady who was glaring across the aisle at him. “Oh this going to be good,” I thought, “she’ll make him stop by giving him a doughnut.” But she didn’t and he didn’t-he never noticed the glare and just kept on crinkling-for over 20 minutes. Doughnut lady finally said to me in a language I could understand, “That’s my husband doing that and it is so annoying. I have no way to stop it because he has headphones on and won’t look my way so that I can tell him to stop it.” I just smiled and kept trying to block it out. After all, I want Chris Crinkle to visit me in just three months.
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