People like to talk.
I realize this on a long slog home, traveling east to west, through multiple airports and time zones.
On the first leg of the flight, toddlers squirm and scream. Parents look away, oblivious or exhausted or both. This is all now routine. In the aisle a man swaggers about a merger; he is important and this is urgent. Stink-eye stares are futile. Even an iPod can't cover this squall.
On the second flight of the never-ending journey, the man seated behind me has left his girlfriend and is moving out west. He's looking for a job, and just may land one thanks to the man across the aisle who tells his new pal about an awesome video game that involves wizards and killing, and then gives him a job lead. Video Game Man recently started a business with the woman sitting next to him, because "the construction business is, like, booming big-time."
I don't want to know any of this; I'm not even trying to listen. I catch all this with plugged airplane ears, that's how loud the conversation.
In front of me, a woman is coughing up a lung — for a full four hours.
Once landed, the bus ride to the parking lot features a woman screeching into her phone about losing something — her wallet? her mind? — who then panics as she nearly misses her stop because she's so distracted with herself.
Weary and worn, we finally get to our car. The engine offers a solitary start. I hear only the rhythm of tires on road. No radio. No talk. Just beautiful, beautiful silence. Cocooned in the midnight lull, I'm thankful for a world without words.
It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, things and more. Joy contracts and expands in relation to our attention and appreciation. What are you thankful for today?