Travelling again yesterday out to the west coast. With all the packing I do and all the planning, I still forget things. I just always hope it’s something small. This time it was indeed small.
But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important.
I forgot my watch. I don’t wear one when I’m home. I don’t need to. There are clocks all over the place. Yes my phone has the time, but of course, I had to turn off my phone when I was on the plane. I wanted to know if I had time to open the hatch, take out my laptop, power it up and start writing. I had no sense of time.
I thought of asking the woman next to me, but she was looking at the BBC news on her smartphone and I didn’t feel I could interrupt her. She seemed like a very serious person by the looks of the printouts she had been reading earlier, things about stars and planetary determinations, mathematical equations, and that was all I could gather.
I did speak to her earlier in the flight. She pulled out very carefully a bag from her carryon and pulled out a square of what looked very much like matzah.
Did I mention that I also got a look at her boarding pass before we sat down? Of course not. Her name was this very long string that was clearly Greek, not clear which was the first or the last name, where one ended and the other started. But it was definitely Greek to me.
So it couldn’t be matzah, could it? Curiosity got the best of me, so I asked her.
“Excuse me, I couldn’t help noticing your sandwich. (It had some kind of nut butter filling.) Is that matzah, by any chance?”
“Yes, it is. I wanted a cracker, so that’s what I found in the store.”
“Oh, it’s something that I eat during Passover, and I don’t usually think it’s something to eat beyond that. Although one of my grandsons always loves to eat it year ’round, with lots of butter and cream cheese.”
“It was marked that it was not for use for Passover, actually.”
“Well, then. Maybe it’s tastier than the Passover variety. It clearly stood up to travelling, so it looks like it was a good choice. Well done!”
End of awkward conversation.
Oh, I did ask her where she was from and she did tell me she was indeed from Greece, although she’s living in the states now.
But not warm and fuzzy, and she was clearly not interested in pursuing any information from me.
No, I won’t ask her the time of day.
So I just bided my time, reading The Prayer of Owen Meany (found during my clean-up drive of the previous weeks).
And surprisingly, really, relatively quickly after my semi-panic about time, I felt my inflatable neck pillow deflate slightly, which meant that the cabin pressure was dropping and we were beginning our descent. When we landed, I went to turn my phone back on in order to find out what time it really was.
I had somehow never turned it off earlier before the flight.
And certainly no one had said a thing to me. Anonymity is great.