Dear people in blog land. I am back in Los Angeles, and I survived two flight connections this past Saturday. I’m not going to lie, it was absolutely BRUTAL—mainly because I am still getting over a cold. It’s been a week and a half, but that’s my fault. Would you allow a cold stop you from going out at night in Paris? I rest my case. Anyways, I flew from Paris — to Finland — to NY, and finally back to my hometown, Los Angeles.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated you about some Paris adventures, but really…all you need to know is GO. Go explore with an open mind and enjoy the ride of your life. It’s incredible.
This post is about a man I met on my flight from NY to LA. He didn’t give me his last name, but I think that’s for the best. As soon as I showed him my red book of ideas (for my novel) he stopped giving me too much information if you know what I mean. Prior to me creeping him out, though, we talked openly about traveling and trauma. I know right, out of all the things two perfectly good strangers could talk about — traveling and trauma! But that’s what we did.
I will call him The New Yorker. He is one of the most interesting people I have met in a long time. I felt utterly excited because from the moment I saw him I could tell he was a New Yorker. Not just any New Yorker, but quite possibly a US Marshall. I tapped his shoulder so that I could get to my window seat (that’s very important for me). He stepped back and I saw his posture…I thought, holy smokes this man can kill me with one hand. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been so territorial, but it was okay because I ended up acting like a little girl once I saw what he looked like. I wanted to ask him so many questions.
Let me explain what I looked like because I gave the man a good laugh too. I had just gone through the Express Lanes at the airport because my flights were so close together. I looked like a hot mess. I hadn’t brushed my teeth from my naps in the last plane ride3, and my greasy hair was hiding under an oversized straw hat I bought at an open market. I inevitably had to show my hair once I settled down, gross. I had rushed packing and ended up wearing two extra layers to compliment for the over flowing items in my luggage. It was not a pretty picture. Still, I was sitting next to someone who could potentially help me with my novel. I was beyond excited.
The man settled down, and I pulled down the shades like a freakin’ vampire. He leaned over and asked if I was from LA. He said it like this: “So. You from LA?” I had already been developing a million questions to ask from the moment I saw him. He unleashed a monster. I felt as if I was in a field trip and I was talking to a fireman and asking him why he liked his job because I think someday I would like to be a fireman. Except this guy looked like a secret spy, or Bourne, or something like that. It was really cool. It didn’t help that I had just finished watching SPEED in the last plane ride either. :S
“Yes, I’m from LA. And you are from NY.”
“Can you tell?”
We laughed because we both recognized each others accents. The easy going Californian and the dynamic New York accents were clearly audible. He asked about my book, and we ended up talking about trauma. After I explained what I wanted to focus on, he said…”I’ve seen things,” just like that —everything became quiet and serious.
“I’ve seen a murder before my eyes, a knife fight, multiple dead bodies, and…” he went on and on.
I asked him, carefully, “May I ask how you were able to see all these things up close?”
He replied, “It’s because I’m a cop. NYPD. My name is ____. ” We shook hands; the first time we officially introduced ourselves.
I couldn’t ask anymore questions after that—not after all the things he was sharing. So he started asking me questions about Paris, and what I had done with my time there. We talked about traveling in Australia, the Panama canal, washing clothes by hand, and breathing the toxic Los Angeles air; something he was looking forward to doing.
Reader, I’m usually a good creeper. I pride myself in that. I can keep my cool when it comes to interviews and such, but this man proved to be too interesting. There was a point when I didn’t want to ask anymore questions because I didn’t want him to not trust me with the information he had already given. Is that weird? I think it’s what normal human beings call—RESPECT. There has to be some type of respect for a human being, so that you don’t dive too much into someones personal life. I stopped asking questions when I realized I didn’t need to know anymore. This guy was just interesting in his own way. It felt refreshingly bizarre stopping myself. I had to. I wanted to remember the cop as a man, a traveller, a jokester, a lover of Peruvian food, and a veteran. That’s it.
Sometimes (even in writing) the things that are left unsaid speak volumes.