Airplane reading

by Rod Smith

Heading to South Africa I stopped at the bookstore in Concourse A before my first flight and saw Malcolm Gladwell’s “Talking With Strangers.” 

I decided against it.

This was for sheer care and concern about whomever would be seated next to me on the long-haul from Dulles to Cape Town ‘cause if I sat with someone reading a book with that title I’d go into immediate oh-no-please-don’t mode.

It’s not that I won’t or don’t talk to strangers but when you have to read a book about it it’s likely you’ll want to get your money’s worth and practice on the first one you see and before you’ve even finished the book and haven’t gotten to the when-not-to bits.

Oh, I know, people have met their Dreamboats on flights and are ever so grateful for Pan Am’s delay between Idlewild and Fort Myers 45 years ago when the stranger to whom they chatted is now still by their side.

I know it happens.

Most encounters are short-lived and, thankfully, benign.

I’m glad I didn’t get the Gladwell book and I’m sure it’s as good as all his others but I couldn’t.

Just couldn’t. Sheer care for the man or woman with whom I’m about to sit just wouldn’t permit it.

Sorry, Malcom.

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