Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sharing Thoughts with Strangers

Although I was at first disappointed about not getting to sit beside my husband on my recent long plane trip to New York, I discovered how a friend can materialize out of thin air--literally, considering our altitude!--when I started conversing with my seat mate, Donnie. Our conversation began with a handshake and my observation that Donnie looked like a younger Morgan Freeman. He laughed, and his eyes twinkled just like Mr. Freeman's, as he nodded. "I've heard that before," he confessed. From the mundane details about why we were traveling, where we live and where we are from originally, and who makes up our respective families, we soon found ourselves immersed in a heavy discussion about our own childhood experiences (with very similar family dynamics!), our shared philosophies regarding child-rearing and education, our views on love and marriage (we have been married the same number of years), religion and spirituality, life and death....

When the pilot announced we'd be landing, we both smiled with disappointment and told each other how much we'd enjoyed this surprise new friendship's evolution during a plane flight. I gave him my business card and told him to email me if he and his wife ever make the trip to San Diego that they have discussed in the past. I added, "Please don't think I'm just talking. I really mean it--stay in touch. My husband and I befriended a guy on a boat in San Francisco, and he gave us his card and told us to contact him if we ever visit Vancouver. We did visit, last summer, and we all had a fun lunch together. So please, don't hesitate to write, okay?"

I got an email from Donnie two days after I got home. He thanked me for a great conversation, and told me it was "exactly what I needed." Now, how 'bout that for memorable words?