Close the Door – Open Your Mind

socs-badge-2015I was on the road this past week. Not the whole week, but a good-sized chunk of it. It was one of those travel things that I do that involves meetings during the day and social functions in the evening. I’m OK with the meetings. I’m confident, there’s an agenda and things usually go according to plan.

Social functions, on the other hand, bring out the introvert in me. That’s a curious thing to think about, bringing out the introvert… Trust me, my introvert has never been hiding in the closet, as it were. Nope, he’s been front and center all my life. There’s no agenda for a social function. I had to attend two functions, one that was easy and one that was not so easy. The difference was that I knew most of the people at the first one. It was more of a family gathering, not that I wasn’t shy about those, but, well, you had to know my family.

The second one was a room full of mostly strangers. That just made me think of something from Star Trek, and since this post is in response to Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I guess I should go with the flow and let that voice have its moment in the sun.

There’s an episode of Star Trek Next Generation called “Home Soil” where some overzealous scientists are working to “tera-form” an uninhabited planet into a colony for the ever expanding Federation of human and human-like beings. Unfortunately, they stumbled upon a life-form, living in a thin layer of water just beneath the surface. Visible signs were ignored, threats were made, action was taken and before long, the Enterprise, flagship of the Federation was in danger.

Then they decided to negotiate. When they made contact, the creatures from the “warm sand” referred to humans as:

Ugly bags of mostly water

Ugly” is subjective. One species’ beauty is another species’… and like that, but they nailed us with the bags of water thing.

I love how SoCS works. I had no intention of mentioning that episode, but it fits with what I was going to talk about, the thing hinted to in the title.

Long story short, my travel plans had to change. I was able to book new flights, but I ended up losing the advantage of having purchased the “Early Bird” registration on Southwest Airlines, which resulted in my sitting way toward the back of the plane. After the chaos of the getting the cattle into the pen ushering people on-board was over, I noticed that the woman across the aisle from me was visibly sad that she wasn’t able to sit near her husband. He was in the worst seat on the plane – last row, aisle seat – the place where the line to the bathroom forms.

Having been in that situation, I offered to switch seats with the husband. How bad could that seat be? The flight was only a little over an hour long. How many people would have to use the bathroom?

Little did I know.

As soon as we crossed the 10,000 foot barrier, entering the atmospheric zone where coffee can be served and WiFi signals roam free, well free for $8, and restrooms can be used, a man who obviously needed to drain his bladder of a few martinis stumbled toward the facility. In between smashing into me on the way to and from the little room, I heard the flight attendant tell him several times “you have to close the door for the light to come on. Close the door and lock it” because nobody wants to watch you attempt urination.

Closer to home, I was sitting next to the embodiment of John W. Howell’s mother-daughter hump day combination (Alexis and Trudy). The daughter either was or was telling people that she was pregnant. She mentioned how she once told someone she was pregnant earlier in her twenty’s to get some special treatment. She did turn down a glass of wine her mother offered, because of her condition, so maybe she really was pregnant. The mother admonished her for putting too much stock in the medical profession and admitted to drinking while the daughter was in the womb.

It wasn’t the only thing they didn’t agree on. Unfortunately, almost everything else involved people. People of “that” religion, “that” sexual orientation, attending “that” college, shopping at “that” store and dating someone from “that” neighborhood.

This is when it’s a good thing that I’m an introvert. I kept my mouth closed.

I just realized that I never finished the story about the second social function. Since I am close to 800 words, let’s leave at: as is usually the case, I attended the function, I met some very nice people, I had a great time and I am glad that I attended it.

By the way, if you want to play along, click on the earlier link or the SoCS badge and:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “-clo-.”  Use a word or words that contain the three letters in order, and base your post on it/them. Enjoy!

63 thoughts on “Close the Door – Open Your Mind

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  1. As a fellow introvert, I share your exasperation at social functions. The big joke at work is I have manage to avoid the “Christmas Business Casual” Christmas Party held each for 22 years!. Oh, yes–let’s mingle and jingle. Thank you. I think not.

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  2. It’s so nice to run into other introverts here on WP, makes me feel normalish. Most of my social functions are task oriented, they have a mission, like Star Trek. I love the message in that Star Trek episode!

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      1. LOL. :D I’ve actually been trying to think of how I might travel across the country without driving flying or driving, in a way that my IBD kitty wouldn’t freak out. I don’t think she’d survive plane travel. And train would take too long… unless they still make those private compartments… Anyhow, happy weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. Trading seats was such an easy thing to do, and it made the wife very happy to be sitting across from her hubs. I love that episode, and that line just popped into my head. On SoCS, I let those enter the stream. Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m seeing a trend here – lots of introverts, including myself, follow you. LOL I never minded the company functions where I did the planning and knew the people – guess I’m agreeing with you that an agenda is needed. But, the ones I attended with my husband at his company were mostly pure torture. I could not wait to get out that door. I was an only child so I learned early that being alone is not the same as being lonely. I really like spending time with others, but I just like to space it out so I can gas up my introverted soul with quiet. :-)

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  4. Gee, you brought to mind that nice guys finish last. A little pun on the words since you were most definitely in the back of the plane. You’re just too nice, Dan. And look where it got you. Believe it or not, I too have a part of me that is an introvert, and that part getting larger it seems from years of spending time in Mother Nature. I just feel more comfy around plants and flowers and cats. When I do fly I bring along my editing to work on, or I take pics out of the window.
    Anyways sorry to hear number two function was mostly uncomfortable, although family can be just the same. (smile) I bet you are happy to be HOME for the weekend!! <3

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    1. I am happy to be home. The second function was good but I was apprehensive until it started. I was only s few rows ahead of that guy but his wife was very happy. You don’t get many chances to make someone happy.

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  5. Two things. I really like soft pretzels. And the title of this post reminded me of the Beatles song “Tomorrow Never Knows”, so now that’s running through my head. Think I’ll spin “Revolver” and make some pretzels — got some in the freezer. Good post, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, it’s “Super Pretzel.” Sounds silly, I know, but it’s very good. I’m a “too much salt” guy, btw, so be prepared to knock some off when I give it to you. And yes, Revolver is an amazing album from my desert-island band. Always a pleasure to comment, Dan!

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  6. Very, very nice of you switch seats with the husband. I’m sure his wife was delighted.

    I loved the cloud shot with the crepuscular rays. I don’t fly often but, when I do I usually choose an aisle seat.
    That seat you switched for doesn’t even recline does it? Not even a little.

    I’m a bit of introvert too. I don’t do the mingle thing very well, and I will plot and plan to be late just to avoid having to introduce myself out loud in front of strangers, and being late is a bete noir of mine. I am usually a few minutes early otherwise.

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    1. That last seat doesn’t recline at all. The woman was very happy. That made the rest of the trip worthwhile. I also usually go for an aisle seat. On the first leg of this trip, the best seat available was a window seat, so I took it. I really wish I had my camera (phone) ready earlier. As we were taking off, the moisture was flowing over the wing and looked like the smoke you see in a wind tunnel. I might have to remember the arrive late idea.

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  7. Hahaha! Dan I so get you. All these situations made me cringe and chuckle. I really wish I had more time to join in on these prompts. Great job. Ft Lauderdale eh? I do hope you waved down as you flew over our house! :D

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  8. God bless you, Dan, for swapping seats. Seriously, most people wouldn’t show such consideration for a friend, let alone a complete stranger. I know that the Lord smiled down on you that day (even if maybe it didn’t seem like it, being stuck in such a terrible place on the plane), but He saw and was definitely proud of you. That’s the kind of sacrifice that God looks for in His children — that we give up things like our pride, or that we put others before ourselves, especially when we’re not asked to. I don’t think He’s overly concerned with what day we worship on, whether or not we put money in the tithe bowl, or if we give up eating meat one day of the week. A true sacrifice comes from WITHIN, not without. Just look at the story of Cain and Abel. Why was Abel’s sacrifice better than Cain’s? I’d love to do a blog post about that….

    Okay, sermon over. Sorry, Dan, this stream of consciousness thing is sort of catching!

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    1. Thanks Wendy. If I were in that husband’s position, I would love to have been able to find a way to sit near my wife. I know that my wife would be uneasy sitting alone. It’s was an easy thing to do and it seemed like the right thing to do, and I got something silly to write about.

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  9. I’m an introvert as well, albeit a “moderate” introvert as multiple personality tests have told me! I have somehow learned to fake it quite well at social functions and no one believes me when I tell them I’m introverted. But as old as I am I still get that uncomfortable feeling when I walk into a room of people I barely know and before almost every party I try to bail out. My husband drags me along and says “you’ll have fun when you get there” and he’s almost always right! Sorry for your plane drama – flying is for the birds!!

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  10. Hahaha, I remember the “ugly bags of water” episode. By coincidence, I just this weekend began schooling my seven year old daughter in Star Trek TNG on DVD, so I don’t expect it’ll be long before I get to revisit it myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good age to start the introduction. You have to build up the repertoire of memorized lines so that when she’s 16, you can remind her that “things are only impossible until they’re not!” Enjoy the DVDs and thanks for the comment.

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  11. The nice way you gave up your seat just emphasized how many of us view you as a true gentleman, Dan. Sorry being nice didn’t turn out so well.
    Stream of consciousness was one of Hemingway’s use of a whole page = one sentence. I think I used to write way too many wordsI on my blogs. Sometimes 2000! Anyway, I would usually outline so the thoughts would flow and make sense. Yours always makes sense. :)
    I thought you might go with the Star Trek show which had an out-station bar. Set on another planet’s frontier, where all kinds of strange aliens are all together. I could see this as a coworkers’ work party or a family holiday gathering.
    The show you referred to was far less familiar, Dan. But I liked how your mind went there. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. It doesn’t take much to lead my head to Star Trek. As for being a gentleman, all I can say is that that’s how I was raised. I’m not sure kids are being taught to be considerate of others these days. When you and I were growing up, that was Social Skills 101. The other thing is that air travel is such a horrible experience these days that I think most people just want to get it over with. I think my first encounter with stream of consciousness was when I read Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. I couldn’t put that book down. I’m amazed at how my mind actually winds itself back around to (what I think is) a point when I write like that. The episode “Home Soil” offers a very powerful lesson. If you like Star Trek and ever have the chance, I’d recommend watching it.

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    1. Oh no, the long leg to CA in that seat…ugh. It doesn’t even recline, so I doubt you were able to sleep. I find it almost impossible to walk by Auntie Anne’s without getting a pretzel.

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  12. “Ugly bags of mostly water.” A very fitting description. I have wondered what extraterrestrial beings would think of us if they chanced to land here, meeting us for the first time. I thought that if an alien landed here and found us fighting for child rights, women rights, and against global warming, pollution, war, etc.
    Then the alien, after a severe moment of popeyed speechlessness, says: “Why don’t your children have rights? Why don’t women have rights? Who’s taking away their rights? Why do you wait to hold an international conference to “agree” on curbing global warming? Isn’t that something that affects you all, so that each one of you should know what to do without waiting for a political decision?”
    Anyway, these are some questions that have occurred to me. That we still have to struggle so hard to stop some things that are clearly hurtful to all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have to fight for those things because the status quo benefits a small but, usually powerful minority at the expense of us all. Thanks for the comment Peter. By the way, if you aren’t familiar with that episode, you should try to catch in somewhere. The ending is very profound.

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  13. Nice posts and pictures. I don’t remember last time when I went for a gathering or a party. I am known for being away from social gatherings and parties and to be frank, people don’t appreciate when I say ‘NO’ upfront. I remember last time when I was at Tata Communications and they invited me to a party where the CMO was going to meet the attendees and I just declined the invitation and people were upset about it. Yes, I am an introvert, but only to strangers.

    Liked by 1 person

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