And by that I mean a mythical beast: a grown man reading New Moon in public.
Let me preface this story by saying that I may have had a break with reality or two yesterday. I was thirsty, tired from too much Guitar Hero the night before (I rock Linkin Park, BTW–99%!), my flight was delayed making me worry about making my connection, and our plane was taken out of service meaning we had to run to our new gate. That being said, I thought I saw Robert Pattinson at O’Hare, from a distance, until I reminded myself that my friends at Letters to Rob had informed me that Rob was in London for his holidays. Then when I boarded my plane a man who looked remarkably like Peter Facinelli was sitting in First Class. No lie.
So anyway, I was flying from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas yesterday, 28Dec08, on AA1599, on my way home to Phoenix. I had just sat down when Mr. 24A showed up. I was on the aisle. Being the nice girl I am, I let him get to his seat quickly, then sat back down to rummage through my backpack and get situated. As I reached for my copy of New Moon, anxious to get on with my fourth read-through, I noticed the back of a familiar book. It was a Twilight book. I waited to see which one, and then I saw the flower. We were reading the same book. I laughed and he looked at me as I pulled out my book and said, “Yeah, me too.” He nodded at me, and dove into his book. The man did not utter a word to me then, nor through the rest of the 4 hour flight. I believe the only times he looked up from his book were when the beverage service took his order, and when he suddenly gasped/sighed and leaned his head back, eyes closed. He was only distracted for a moment in both cases. He chugged his OJ, I assume so he could get back to his book.
I was so uncomfortable on the plane that I was fidgeting a bit, plus I really had to pee and was waiting for the pilot to turn off the Fasten Seatbelt sign. My mind wandered to the curious gentleman next to me, and why he did not speak to me at all. Common courtesy would dictate that we spend a moment discussing the books, and maybe how we liked the movie, before opening our books and returning to Forks. So why did he not do anything but nod?
Once I wondered if he’d taken some sort of instant dislike to me, or if I smelled. I even sniffed my hair at one point, and then laughed to myself when I realized that my mousse smells like lavender and my deodorant like freesia. Delusional as I was, I started imagining something along the lines of Edward and Bella in Biology. I of course shook that off. He just didn’t feel angry. I was still curious though so I checked him out.
Stocky Frat Boy type. Unkempt facial hair, but not completely wooly. American-style of dress. Under Armour shirt. He had two hats which was puzzling. He wore a knit cap (ironically there was a unicorn embroidered on it). He also had a fitted ball cap, which rested on his knee through the whole flight. It said Taylor U on it. I believe the knit hat was green and the cap was purple. He also had some strange green gloves, maybe motorcycle gloves. They certainly didn’t seem like they’d be warm. He mostly held his book in his left hand, so I could not tell if he wore a ring. He was about 100 pages behind me when we started. He was only 50 pages behind me when we landed. These are all things I noticed while I fidgeted. Mostly I just enjoyed my book.
Today at work I was telling Random about the strange experience. He theorized that 24A was gay and was eager to call it case closed. I tried to tell him that 24A didn’t ping on my gaydar at all. What ensued was sheer hilarity, as we came up with theory after theory about Mr. 24A’s silence. If he had only spoken to me this would never have happened. As Random said, I was stood up by a single serving friend and feeling rejected.
Theory 1: He’s gay – I don’t think so. He was much more Taylor U Football than Rip Taylor Footloose.
Theory 2: He’s shy, in which case Denise is sad for him and thinks I should have bought him a drink. I tried to make eye contact and initiate conversation, I swear!
Theory 3: He doesn’t speak English – This took some thought. I don’t remember seeing any words on his book, just the flowers. Then I remembered that he ordered his OJ with no problems and without any detectible foreign accent. Debunked.
Theory 4: He’s mute. Debunked by the memory of him ordering OJ.
Theory 5: He is a US Marshall, and New Moon was his cover. I guess I’ll never know.
Theory 6: His girlfriend/wife/SO made him read it. I couldn’t see a ring, so who knows?
Theory 7: Not only did he/she make him read it, but he/she won’t let him talk to girls on flights. That would be so sad.
Theory 8: Old Man Bobby paid him to sit next to me on the flight to test me. While I passed the test on the flight, I am now failing, as I am quasi-stalking him. Old Man Bobby laughed nervously when I told him this theory by the way.
Theory 9: He was a spy sent to the US to study teen reading habits. Terrifying.
Theory 10: He thought I was a tweeker because I couldn’t sit still and I went to the bathroom an inappropriate number of times just to have an excuse to walk around.
Theory 11: He was too embarrassed to have been caught reading a chick book to speak to me.