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Archive for June, 2008

To the young woman I sat next to while waiting for a plane out of Chicago

I know the prospect of this being read by the intended person defies the laws of probability, but the conversation that I listened to at Midway airport while waiting for a pilot and crew to get back to St. Louis left an impression on me, and I feel the need to share.

Normally I would not give a second thought about anything being said by another’s conversation on the phone should they be sitting next to me, as can be attested to by my loving wife. For that matter, I have trouble paying attention to people that are talking directly at me. Take for example the young girl in the yellow “STAFF” shirt that was also talking on her phone (rather loudly I might add). I could not tell you anything she had been talking about, though I did obviously notice her, but more because she annoyed me somewhat simply because it reminded me of, well, me pacing while talking on the phone — unable to stand still for a moment. But you, dear young woman in the low-cut white shirt with the Dell laptop sitting in your lap; your conversation with Zack, well, that struck a chord.

Listening to you and your heated discussion with Zack – a conversation I might add would have been better served to have ended about 20 minutes sooner than it did – gave me flashbacks to when I was 17, 18, or 19; maybe even into my early twenties for that matter. Two things struck me listening to you: you reminded me of my wife (before we were married), and Zack sounded an awful lot like I did.

I also had a lot of trouble taking the time to consider the feelings of others when I was still a boy (a boy being when I was younger than 25 years old), something I am ashamed to say I still have difficulties with. Zack is going to have those troubles, by the sound of it, for some time still. The problem is, you berating him about it will accomplish almost nothing (something else my wife can attest to) except to make him feel guilty and either lash out or turn inward and drift away from you. I am by no means telling you that you were in the wrong to expect that Zack take your feelings into consideration – by the sound of it, he was certainly expecting things he ought not to have expected.

I only want to give you a little bit of advice on how to handle this situation, so that things do not end badly with someone you obviously have strong feelings for – or I do not think you would have had such a long conversation. So my advice to you, dear Chicago traveler, is to give him some space (but not too much) and let him figure out what is really important in his life. You may find that encouragement without the berating will give Zack the push he needs to grow up, and that will make the both of you happier than the two of you are currently.

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