I’ve never been one to fall for those romantic travel stories. You know, the ones where the immaculately-clad heroine (dressed in stiletto heels, a perfectly-ironed blouse matching the color of her eyes, her hair and make-up looking as smoothly perfect as it did the morning of the flight, and her breath smelling of roses and lilacs and not of airplane mush) meets the tall, dark, charming stranger when he mistakenly picks up her suitcase from the luggage claim belt. He then returns it to her with the elusive smile she had already noticed when she stood up in the airplane to stretch her legs and caught his eye. He lifts her suitcase onto the luggage cart for her, pushes the heavy cart to the waiting taxi. On the short walk from the conveyor belt to the curb, they discover they are soul-mates: they both adore Beethoven and detest Brahms. They exchange phone numbers and return to their homes to break up with their respective partners. Exactly a year later they are again at the conveyor belt, this time in exotic Bora Bora, waiting for a suitcase with only one name. Yes, you guessed it, they are now on their honeymoon, sponsored by the airlines that were enraptured with their story. They wait patiently for a limo to pick them up and drive them to their resort hotel, where they will sip martinis and gaze into each other’s eyes, and the sun will set in a cascade of yellow and orange magic on the crests of the lapping waves in front of them.
Yes, well, that’s all very nice, but some people actually have real lives. Some people have their suitcases stolen by dark mysterious strangers and never returned; some people lose the printed e-tickets with phone numbers scrawled on the back, and I think you’ll agree with me that few people’s hair looks good and certainly nobody’s breath smells good after a 10-hour transatlantic flight. (If you disagree, please, do the necessary field research yourself).
That is not to say that I have never met interesting or funny people, also of the opposite sex, while traveling. That would be a lie. I have a whole gallery of acquaintances whose sole
mistake stroke of genius was to check in on the same flight as mine. I have made friends in Relay stores; I have had heated theological disputes with random strangers in the long line to the airplane toilet; I have come up with a solution to the world’s problems with an aging hippy on a field outside Paris Beauvais airport, and I have also been hit on, in spite of the fact that heels are hardly my preferred footwear. Airport/airplane/fellow-disgruntled-traveler-pick-up-lines belong in a separate category, however, and I will not break the romantic thread of today’s post with any humor whatsoever.
So what was I saying? Ah yes, I never was one to fall for those romantic travel stories, and if the other half of my orange has ever been seated next to me on a flight, I’m sorry to admit, I must have missed him.
Therefore great was my surprise when only 24 hours after having taken off from Lyon airport (on the second day of my attempt to reach home), I was spending a truly unforgettable night with a tall, blonde-haired stranger I had encountered on my journey.
But that cuts into Day 3 of my trip, and it wouldn’t do to be getting ahead of myself chronologically. See you tomorrow!