By Paula Damon
I was annoyed by those two love birds who sat next to me on a flight to Omaha on my way home from a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest.
To begin with, they arrived very late at the gate. And then, they had the nerve to ask buckled-in passengers, who had paid extra to get first dibs on their Southwest Airline seats, to move so they could …
“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind sitting in that empty seat back there so my boyfriend and I can be together,” chirped the girlfriend, who was promptly turned down.
Next, it was the boyfriend’s turn. He asked the passenger at the end of my row with a spare seat between us.
“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind sitting over there so my girlfriend and I can sit together?”
“Of course,” the guy said, and after a bit of musical chairs on the tarmac, the two love birds snuggled in next to me for the long flight to Eppley Airfield.
It’s surprising what you can learn about people when you have no other choice but to sit right beside them at 35,000 feet for two hours and 55 minutes.
It wasn’t hard to tell he was a Husker fan by his Husker t-shirt, Husker ball cap, Husker workout pants, Husker watchband and Husker wrist bracelet.
So, I figured he was a Nebraskan. And since I could overhear everything they said; even when they were whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, I ascertained Omaha was his hometown by his boyish sing-song-y “You’re going to meet my family. You’re going to meet my family.”
That must have really gotten to her. “Ok, so tell me everyone’s name and who they are,” she blurted with more than a hint of anxiety.
And so began his prepping her for all the introductions, running through a long list, starting with his mom, dad, grandparents, and then aunts, uncles, cousins and finally family friends, high school friends, college friends and neighbor friends.
Not sure how she kept track, because I definitely got lost.
“What should I say?” her apprehension now fully on display. “I mean is there anything I shouldn’t say? I mean, does anything offend your family?”
“Nope, not a thing,” was her beau’s reply, which we all know is a lie, since there’s bound to be stuff that’s taboo at any family gathering.
“Okay, I’ll try not to cuss,” she sighed a sacrificial promise, as though she would have to take great pains to save them from her potty mouth.
Needless to say, when these lovebirds weren’t talking, they were smooching.
During the one and only oasis of silence in the flowery meadow of what appeared to be new love, she asked, “What should I wear?” which I thought was the silliest question any female can ask any male. Everyone knows most guys aren’t super fussy about what they are wearing, let alone what anyone else is wearing.
“Whatever,” he shrugged predictably. “It doesn’t matter.”
“No, you don’t understand,” stressed the future Mrs. “I absolutely have to wear the right thing for the right occasion. I have to. That’s me.”
I could tell he just didn’t get it, as her comment rendered him speechless.
Frankly, that was the first sign of trouble. In my opinion, anytime a person is obsessed with attire, there’s very little room for anything else in a relationship.
“No, really, you don’t understand,” she pestered. “I need to know what to wear. I’m a perfectionist.”
That was the second sign of unrest. If she keeps this up, even if they do make it to the altar, their marriage will not last.
You see, I’ve been hitched to the same man for 40 years, 10 months, two weeks, six days, 12 hours and 30 minutes. And, there’s one thing I do know about staying married for that long – there’s no room for perfectionism, which can totally wreck what started out to be the best unions.
As the new couple carried on like a flowing fountain of bliss, I wrestled with my crocheting, occasionally glancing out the window hoping to see God float over the tops of all those billowy clouds and make a divine intervention.
They kissed – again! My eyes rolled – again.
“You’re so adorable,” she gushed. “Sorry, I don’t mean to baby you, but I’m a little bit of a mommy. That’s what I do.”
Aha, the third danger-sign. Guys don’t want a mommy; they want a wife and friend.
Toward the last leg of the flight, he became increasing glued to his iPhone, and she had to nudge him to get his attention. Another indicator of t-r-o-u-b-l-e – avoidance.
At long last, we landed in Omaha, and that was the last I saw of that poor couple.
Now, nearly two weeks later, I’m still worried about them. Sorry, I’m a little bit of a mommy. That’s what I do.