Recently I have been traveling quite frequently by plane
Each time I sit down, I silently hope that the seat next to me will be empty.
These seats in economy class are really close to each other;
people are sitting in each others' personal space.
But more often than not the seat next to you get filled.
Most of the time I keep myself busy with reading or dozing off.
The person next to me does usually the same.
So many flights have gone smoothly without me saying even a word
beyond hello to the person sitting next to me.
Yesterday was a bit different. Next to me sat a young guy traveling alone. He was clearly a Caucasian and after I had done the usual part of reading and we got a drink, I asked him whether it was his first visit to Kelantan, the place where I stay and where we were going to. He replied with a smile and told me he was nervous since he was on the way to meet the parents of his girlfriend for the first time. I could see the level of excitement, mixed with a certain level of fear. I remembered vividly the first time I met the family of my own wife.
I had a really nice and enjoyable time talking to that stranger next to me on the plane.
When we landed my wife and I shared a bit of his nervousness and when we walked out we recognized the girlfriend and her parents as he had described while he was still waiting for his luggage. Later on the parking lot, we saw him with the family, talking happily to each other, except the father of the girl who still looked a bit worried for his daughter. I hope his inter-racial relationship works out fine for him as it has worked out for me.
If I had not started a conversation, I would have missed all the excitement.
My next flight I will start a conversation with the one sitting next to me if the seat is not empty...