I could write about how cold I am, about how much California traffic sucks. I could tell you how dramatic the past 36 hours have been, about how weird it is to "live" in a place that has NONE of my stuff, but I won't. Instead, I will tell you about my flight.
For those of you who follow my twitter, you know that while waiting in the Houston Hobby airport, I listened to an elderly couple argue over how to operate a Kindle. Yes, the old people were reading on electronic devices, and I had a paperback. I guess that makes me vintage, which makes me super scene, which is the goal of my life at all times.
But the more interesting story happened as I was boarding the plane. I am walking down the line to get on Southwest Flight #2848, direct service to Oakland, and I see a guy, mid-twenties, who kind of looks like my type, from behind at least. (Is that weird? Whatever. It happens.) As I'm passing him, he looks at me, and that's when I notice the generic death metal font splayed across his tshirt. Thumbs down. That's a shame. I board the flight.
This is the part where I have to tell you that I always, ALWAYS choose the window seat. I don't like to be bothered with people crawling over me, and I hate getting up on planes. Hence, I'm a window-seat girl. So I find the first empty row, clamor across the two exterior seats and settle in. Now I surreptitiously watch everyone pass by my row. And this is when the paranoia kicks in. Because I don't honestly want ANYONE to sit in my row. But at the same time, I would be offended if no one wanted to. Because everyone else is walking down that middle aisle thinking one of two things, in this order:
1. What seat do I want? Is it taken in the row?
2. Of the open seats of my choice, who could I tolerate sitting near?
So I watch the passer-bys and I think, either they're also window seat people, or I look like someone they have no interest in coexisting near. If it's the latter, then I'm annoyed. Because I showered, and I smell fantastic. I don't hog arm-rests, I don't talk, if I fall asleep, it's up against the wall, away from everyone, and I don't get up...ever. You should be FIGHTING to sit next to me. Everyone on this stupid plane should be hurdling over small children and tray tables to get to row fifteen. Besides, we are all gonna be breathing the same stupid air, so just sit in this dumb row and quit blocking the aisle.
But this was not one of the times that my internal debate had to carry on for long. Because death metal tshirt walks down the aisle, sees me, and asks if the aisle seat is taken. (This should have been my first clue. He saw that I was traveling alone. So who would I be saving that seat for? Creepy orange beard guy? No.) So I say no. Actually I said, "have at it," because I'm too weird to give simple, normal responses. For a moment, I'm flattered that he chose my row, but that moment passes, and soon - I will wish with my whole heart that I had lied.
Because Josh (oh yes, we exchanged names,) is a talker. Well, maybe not usually, but he's talking to me. And we're still on the tarmac, so my portable electronic device is still in the "off" position. Josh asks me, "how long has it been been since you've been back?"
I am confused.
I ask him to repeat the question. He clarifys. I understand his intention is to find out the purpose of my existence in seat 15A. I tell him that the last time I was in Oakland was a year ago, and that I'm moving back. (this is the part where I take a moment to revel in my statement. Holy crap. I'm moving...today. Eyes get wide, a look of fear and all consuming anxiety washes over my expression. Another question, moment passes, I can breathe again.)
So I ask Josh the reciprocating question. "What about you?" Because I am from Texas and I am polite. And I don't have anything else to do while the flight attendants secure the doors for departure. He tells me it's been six years. I feign interest. His expression shows me that he thinks this is a monumental period of time. I say "wow." This is the moment he proceeds to tell me that for the past three years (give or take) he has been in a West Texas jail.
Can I pause for a minute? Who tells someone that? Within the first ten minutes of conversation? Freaking weird.
The conversation went downhill from then on. He proceeded to tell me all the states he's had warrants in, he told me about how if he were going to go back to jail, he would want it to be the one in Marin county (on account of how that's his favorite one) and how he likes books about serial killers and death metal music. Really, really great.
As soon as we reached 10,000 feet, I put on my headphones. And I didn't take them off until the stupid flight attendant came around and motioned at me. And as the plane is in it's final descent into Oakland - Josh says this:
"Man, I wonder if I still have warrants in California?"
Why me? Why do I have to sit next to the crazy, freshly paroled nutbag? So I tell him that he should really check into that. And he laughs. But I'm not kidding. Needless to say, as soon as I could, I ran off the plane, and made a sharp left into the girl's bathroom to hide out for a bit, because I would rather have to talk to the baggage claim employee who would undoubtedly berate me for allowing my luggage to go around the carousel too many times than interact with Josh the jail-lover. I pick my battles.