This Is Your Captain Speaking.
Last week I had the honor and pleasure of traveling to the Canyon Ranch Institute in Tucson, AZ with Dr. Val to co-lead a workshop about social media, blogging, and the hot topic of Twitter. It was a beyond-cool experience, talking about the impact of blogging on people's health management, and showing how the patient blogging community can improve health both on and offline. (Val has a wonderful recap of the experience on her blog at Better Health.)
After our stay was over, we went took the shuttle back to the Tucson airport and checked in for our flight.
"We wanted to make sure we were sitting next to one another on the flight," Val said to the attendant at the American Airlines counter.
"You actually aren't. You have good seats, though. Do you want to try and change them?"
Val didn't even have to check with me. (She had to fly out to Tucson with me from NYC, so she's familiar with my flight anxiety.)
"We'd like to sit together, if that works."
The attendant checked the system. "We have two seats in row 31. That's in the way back of the plane. Is that okay?"
"Fine with us," we said almost in unison.
"I wouldn't want to sit in the back of the plane," said a man in uniform who appeared behind the counter. "Right near the engine? Awful."
I was nervous. Who was this guy was just leaping into the middle of the conversation to offer his snarky two cents?
"Hey, I like the engine. I'm very pro-white noise, you know. Love it. Soothing stuff. It's going to be a great ride." Tried to flash him a disarming smile, hoping he wasn't sitting next to me on the flight.
He grins and walks away. Val and I board the plane and settle into our seats. My seat is directly next to the engine, as advertised.
"It's cool. White noise, right?" I joked to Val. She laughed, and we prepared to take off.
Once the plane was up to cruising altitude, the PA system on the plane chimed into action.
"Good afternoon, everyone. This is Captain Frank [Name Redacted] and me and my co-pilot will be taking you all to Chicago today."
I tuned out a bit, still trying to feel relaxed. Val was already almost napping beside me in her seat. The captain continued to talk.
"So we're at 31,000 feet and we'll eventually climb to 33,000. Sit back and enjoy the ride. And I'd also like to welcome Valerie and Kerri to our flight today and hope they're enjoying the wonderful white noise there at the back of the plane."
Val woke up with a start. "Did he just say our names?"
I couldn't stop laughing. "He did! That guy, from the counter! He's the damn pilot!"
The flight continued on without incident to Chicago, and as we prepared to land, the pilot came over the PA.
"I want to let you know that we're going to start our descent into O'Hare, and the current temperature is 72 degrees. We hope you've enjoyed flying with us today, and we thank you for choosing American Airlines. And we hope the white noise wasn't too much for our back of the plane passengers."
Val and I erupted into laughter again. The captain buzzed over the intercom one more time.
"That's just an inside joke today, folks. Flight attendants, prepare for landing."
Once the plane landed, Val and I had to reintroduce ourselves to the captain. "We couldn't help but overhear your messages!"
The pilot laughed. We handed him our respective business cards. "We're bloggers," Val said.
"Would it be okay if I wrote about this?" I asked. "I don't want to break any rules."
"Sure. I'm with it. I am on Facebook. I don't know much about the Twitter thing, but I am pretty savvy for a guy over 50."
We actually stood there for over ten minutes, talking about Twitter with the pilot of our flight.
That has to be the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.