AN AIR PLANE STORY: KATHY & BOB
Some people love to travel. Not everyone loves to fly though. If you have never been on a plane, it is always an experience. Packing a bunch of people into a metal tube and shooting it into the air at hundreds of miles an hour is pretty fuckin crazy if you think about it. One thing that may be crazier than that is some of the people you may sit next to on the plane. Over the last decade I have been on plenty of flights. I have sat next to drunk girls on their way to Vegas to get even more hammered. Those girls don’t shut the fuck up. they always repeat themselves. “I’m going to Vegas bitch!” or they hit the “Yasss queen!” as they are shouting to their friends 10 rows of seats away. The other side of this exists too though. You will sit next to a complete stranger and have such a great conversation that may change your life in some way for the better. There is always something that seems to happen to me when I fly. Whoever I sit next to generally leads to some deep conversations. Most people don’t know that I am an energy guy. In short, sometimes this means people like to tell me their dark shit and I am always here for it.
“Packing a bunch of people into a metal tube and shooting it into the air at hundreds of miles an hour is pretty fuckin crazy if you think about it.”
Before we dive into a conversation I had on my flight to Florida, let me share an example of what I mean by these deep conversations. A few years back I was on a plane headed back to Phoenix, Arizona. I am in the middle seat. To my right was a 15 year old kid and to my left was an older woman probably in her late 60’s. The kid starts off talking to me and Immediately opens up about his best friend passing away a few months prior. I thought “shit, we are getting right into it huh. Ok.” I found out both these kids were basically geniuses. His Friend passed away from attempting a science experiment that ended up electrocuting him. Pretty wild. This Kid was building computers already at 15. He was sharp. Being an energy guy like I mentioned above, I could tell that losing his best friend obviously was painful for him. Why wouldn’t he want to talk about it? He did the opposite of what most people do. Hold that shit on your shoulders for the rest of your life and pile more shit on top of it as the years go by. The Woman was a professor and she was fuckin awesome! She traveled all over the world and was just a intelligent, down to earth person. While talking to her she recommended a couple books. The Four Agreements and The Richest Man In Babylon. I recommend both books. You could probably finish The Four Agreements while taking a shit it is so short. I digress. The point of this mini story is to give you an idea of the conversations I attract.
I’m boarding my plane at Sky Harbor Airport here in Phoenix, Arizona. Because my dumb ass checks in late all the time I get stuck boarding in group c on Southwest Airlines. This means the window seat I want so I can sleep is not happening. I am definitely getting a middle seat. I board the plane and am looking to see what seats are left. I see an older couple only a few rows back from the front of the plane. The window seat is open. The few people in front of me kept walking to the back of the plane so I stopped and asked the old couple “ Is anyone sitting there?” The man replied “Nope!” I got my window seat somehow. As I got into my seat I heard the woman say “when you have cancer…” That was all I heard when I was putting my bag under the seat and buckling up. Shortly after that the guy asks “are you from Michigan?” I said “ Hell no, I’m from Ohio!” He noticed my shorts had a spartan logo on them and thought it may have been Michigan State. They both started talking to me after that. Their names were Kathy and Bob. Kathy was sitting in the isle seat and her husband Bob was in the middle. She mentioned those words again. “When you have cancer…” From there I learned they had been living in Phoenix for the last six months. Kathy has been going through cancer treatments in Anthem, Arizona.
Kathy and Bob live in Alabama. She did a small dose of chemo therapy there and had a bad experience. She didn’t like the way it made her feel, the hospital treated her bad and it was expensive. Kathy thought there were better options out there somewhere so she did her research. It led here out here to Arizona. I had no idea Arizona had a bunch of good naturopathic cancer centers. Kathy and Bob explained all the things they do different in treatment. From my understanding these centers blend some western medicine with a lot of eastern medicine or I guess you could say Chinese medicine. I thought it was pretty cool. I don’t know what type of cancer Kathy was diagnosed with. I probably should have asked but it didn’t really matter. The thing I was fascinated the most about Kathy was her attitude about the situation. She wasn’t saying “when you have cancer” as like a victim. She had a positive tone like she is going to beat it when she easily could just say fuck it I’m out. We all talked the whole flight. Bob and I also talked about football since they live in Alabama. He is originally from Pennsylvania and went to college at West Virginia University. He also knew the college I played football for in West Virginia and his son in law actually lives in Cleveland. It is a big world but it is a small world.
“She had a positive tone like she is going to beat it when she easily could just say fuck it I’m out.”
I am grateful for meeting Bob and Kathy. I hope Kathy kicks cancers ass. They will be back in Arizona in a few weeks for more treatments. I wanted to write about this because I don’t think all this is a coincidence. I mean it is a reoccurring theme in my life. I had a friend open up to me randomly about a month ago. Her mom passed away of cancer when she was 16. There are tons of other examples of similar conversations non cancer related I could give. I guess there is something about this innocent baby face I’m stuck with that makes people want to open up to me. I kid, but I am actually very comfortable with people opening up. The majority of the time I’m just listening and asking questions. There is no judgement. There is no advice, unless they ask. Even then it is more laying out all the options rather than telling them what they should do. I guess if you take anything away from this blog it is this. Build your listening skills. A lot of us just have an ego that wants to be right and get words in. Being able to listen is an important skill for effective communication. I believe that skill is not being developed the more we continue into the age of these screens in our face 24/7. Sometimes people just need an ear to talk to and I have no problem sharing mine.