Archive for June, 2011

The Stalker

There once was this girl who took the same flight to NY every week. And because she was on the same 7:00am flight in and the same 5:30pm flight out, she sat in the same exact seat. Every Monday and every Thursday. It was her favorite seat on the whole plane, and since no one else seemed to care for it she was quite pleased to sit in it every week.

After a few flights, the girl noticed another lady who also had a favorite seat. This lady took the same flights as the girl and sat in the exact same seat, right next to the girl. The girl noticed that this lady had an established routine: she would carry a travel pillow for her back, take out a sci-fi book during take-off and landing, and watch Stargate: Atlantis on her laptop during the flight. Being a nerd herself, the girl identified with the lady and thought maybe they could strike up a travel friendship, since they had some things in common.

So the girl started saying “hi” to the lady when she got to her seat. The lady would politely say “hi” in return and would go about her routine, never making much conversation. She didn’t seem to recognize the girl, the girl noticed. This went on for several weeks.

One day the girl noticed that the lady started sitting in First Class. “Hmmm…” the girl thought. “Perhaps she achieved Executive Platinum status and now gets upgraded to First Class! What a lucky lady!” She wished her plane acquaintance well and didn’t think much of it.

A few months went by. Then one day the lady wasn’t sitting in First Class anymore…she came back to her regular row and in the seat next to the girl again. Thinking this was a perfect opportunity to strike up a friendly conversation, the girl looked over to the lady and asked curiously “Didn’t get your upgrade to First Class this week?”

The lady stared at the girl in a slightly flabbergasted manner and nervously smiled. “Oh…no, not this week.” She suddenly fidgeted and looked around, surprised that the girl seemed to know her. She cleared her throat, put her travel pillow behind her back, took out her sci-fi novel and started to read it silently.

After the initial descent into the air, as if on cue, the lady brought out her laptop and started watching a sci-fi TV show. But, Stargate: Atlantis was not playing this time…instead, to the girl’s surprise, the lady was watching Eureka.

“Oh,” the girl exclaimed, “you’re no longer watching Stargate?”

The lady fidgeted nervously in her seat and looked at the girl with surprised eyes. “Oh…no…I finished that series a couple of weeks ago. Now I’m watching Eureka,” she said with finality, then averted her eyes and turned back to her show.

Suddenly unsure about the odd vibe buzzing in the air, the girl smiled at the lady and tried to explain “…I remember you because you always watched Stargate: Atlantis during the flight.”

The lady nodded and smiled weakly. Then she turned back to her show. Every now and then she looked slightly uncomfortable. The girl frowned.

The following week, the lady was sitting in an entirely different row. She had not been upgraded to First Class, and she chose not to sit in her usual row next to the girl, either. She was several rows away. When the girl passed her in the aisle, she turned to say “hi”, but the lady averted her gaze and pretended not to notice. The girl was sad.

About eight months later, the lady appeared back in her old, usual row next to the girl.

This time I kept my mouth shut.


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