On Monday evening we were flying home from Virginia and had a layover in Charlotte. In North Carolina we found a table conveniently located near an outlet and I pulled out the laptop to write a little and get 'er charged up so I could keep working during the flight back to Little Rock.
I wasn't eagerly searching for friends at that point, but a chubby middle-aged guy with a pink face the texture of a sea sponge sat down about 8 feet away at the only other table in that corner. He had on a bright orange Longhorns hoodie, so my first impression of him wasn't a negative one, but then he began to talk. "They got free internet here?" he called to me from his seat.
"I don't think so," I answered, keeping my eyes glued to the screen as I continued to type.
But he kept on going, telling me about his second home, how he's from Michigan and drove all the way to Austin and on to McAllen on a road trip with his family. He talked about his trip to Padre Island, and the Outer Banks. The school he went to, his first wife- I kept my eyes on the computer screen.
It became clear that he couldn't take a hint if I put it in a pill, so I just continued trying to work, grunting periodically as he continuously de-railed my train of thought.
We finally started packing up and picking up the bundles of carry-ons that budget travelers are forced to lug around these days, and were about to head to the terminal to board, when I thought I might as well get his name. After all, he told me everything else about himself and I didn't even have to ask. I threw the strap of my red duffel over my shoulder and stopped in front of his table with an extended hand and a "nice to meet you," offering him my name. He gave my hand a squeeze and said, "Cool. Good luck." Without so much as looking up.
It was slightly awkward, and I'm still not sure if he had finally caught onto the fact that I wasn't interested in listening to him and was giving me a taste of my own medicine, just didn't think about it, or maybe he's one of America's most wanted and made up everything else he told me. In any case, it gave me something to write about!