Candidates, debates, polls, and pundits abound these days.
Reminds me of an experience that occurred some years ago.
I was flying back to the East Coast from a teaching stint out west. Hell bet on the business of filling empty seats, the airline arranged for us to glide into increased profits via a stop at a Houston airport.
It was summer. A Friday night, and hot. Business people who had been away all week were worked up to get home. No one was paying for delay.
Some folks disembarked, then a rush of humanity jumped on. The coach section was full of action, people pushing chubby bags into overstuffed overheads, with "let's get the heck outta here" expressions the norm.
Down the aisle, through the crowd, came a lovely woman employed as a flight attendant. She was followed by a man, a fellow clothed completely in Gucci. He was so groomed that the image appeared impossible. Not a hair of his $500 haircut was askew, his suit perfectly pressed despite the humidity. Yet, as they passed me, I noticed his manicured hands were clenched, his tanned face stern as stone. Seems the immaculate fellow was late for his first class seat, and they sold it out from under him.
Ms. Flight Attendant had information that affected all of us.
"Sir, this is the only available seat we have on this flight. If you want to get to DC tonight, then this is it. And we can't leave until all passengers are seated."
Mr. Gucci was not pleased. In a loud, arrogant voice, he declared,
"I am NOT sitting back here with THESE people."
All got very, very quiet.
Oh, but you know us coach folks. The silence did not last long.
Nestled in this gathering of the great unwashed was one of us. Standing in the aisle near Row 12, the sleeves of his rumpled business shirt already rolled up to his elbows, he was searching for a place in the crammed overhead for his soft briefcase.
You got the feeling he was a sales guy who hadn't made a commission all month, a hard-working person sick of swallowing nonsense. A real guy up to his neck in debt, yet more than ready to walk through the front door to the familiar madness of his wife and kids.
Sales Guy turned and glared over his reading glasses in the direction of Gucci Guy. Then, in a voice loud enough to speak for most humanity, Sales Guy said:
"Buddy, SIT DOWN and SHUT UP!"
And...Mr. Gucci did.
He hustled himself into the seat behind me, seeking refuge from the wrath of laughter that erupted at his expense.
As the plane left Houston, I imagined that, like a cartoon, he had shrunk to the size of a child, and that his suit was suddenly way too big for him. And that soon he would be kicking the back of my seat, impatient to get back to his own kind.
Photo credit: Pixadus.com