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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

And I don't even like hockey

I sat in 21 Charlie.

They were in 21 Alpha and Bravo.

We were all three red-heads (what are the chances? We make up only 2% of the population and we found ourselves seated 3 abreast on a 136 passenger plane. Someone else do the math for me here?)  If our flight had gone down last night, we'd have decreased Canada's redhead population significantly.  Fortunately for the ginger fans in the crowd (I know you're out there) we all made it to our destination alive.

I knew it was going to be good when Ben introduced himself to us.  First of all, he was wearing a fantastic felt Tilley hat (did you know those things come with a lifetime guarantee?)  Secondly, he spoke.  On a plane, you either sit silently trying not to bump elbows, or you engage.  These guys engaged right away.  In fact, they were so interesting, kind and full of inspired ideas that I had to jot them all down on my napkin then share them here.


We all knew instantly that we'd won the seatmate lottery.  This flight wouldn't be about reading a book or waiting to land.  It would involve building community at 40,000 feet.   I started to wonder if airlines could strategically seat people to encourage this kind of high-altitude bonding.  Easy people, I said bonding, not bondage.  This is not the CBC.  (Westjet, Virgin, listen up - I swear this is the best idea to hit the air since the barf bag) What should we call it?  High Flying Friends?  Oooooh!  40,000 foot speed-dating!  Anyhow, I'm getting carried away.  We decided that passengers should complete a questionnaire when they book their flights.  The airline will then pair people appropriately.  Said questionnaire (according to the boys) must include the following questions:

1.  If the person seated next to you turns to say something, do you hide in your book and hope they'll go away or perk up thinking the flight will go by more quickly?

2.  Re: above, do you own Bose headphones?

3.  Do you ask for your drinks with or without ice? 

4.  Pretzels or cookies?

5.  Game 7 of The Stanley Cup is playing during your flight.  Are you watching?

6. Would you pay an additional $25 on your ticket price for an airborne open bar?

7.  If a screen popped up mid-flight offering the following options, which would you choose?

a) re-route to Hawaii
b) continue to scheduled destination

The boys insist also that smokers be paired with sleepers.

Now here's where you come in.  What are we missing?  What further questions need to be asked?  Help us out...

I really think this idea has wings. 

I have a friend who met her husband on a plane.  They were side by side and she ordered tea.  With honey.  He had a honey bee farm.  They connected instantly.  They fell in love.  Years later they flew side by side again.  She ordered tea.  With honey.  And this time, the flight attendant brought her a honey jar.  Floating in the golden honey was another very sweet thing....a ring...

Arielle & John sitting in 11 C, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first came love...

But back to our flight last night.  As luck would have it, due to a weather delay the Canada-Russia world junior hockey gold medal game started the moment we took off.  The boys next to me were fans.  On a normal day, I couldn't care less about hockey.  (I shouldn't say that.  I'm Canadian.  And I'd like to have a boyfriend someday...so don't tell anyone, ok?)  Anyway, last night was different.  My proximity to the boys and the intensity of the game made it impossible not to become completely absorbed in the game.  We collectively cheered, we held our breath.  7.1 million Canadians were watching.  I swear we had the three best seats in the house.  As the game wrapped up with a 5-4 win for Canada, a resounding cheer went up in the back half of the plane.  Ben led the passengers in 'Oh Canada' - until he got half-way through and forgot the rest of the words (go easy on us - we always used to sing the second half in French, you see).

Team Canada is jubilant about their first medal in this tournament since 2012

Anthony Duclair celebrates his first period goal
In the afterglow of our gold medal victory, I learned all about hunting and carpentry and chickens and rigs.  I almost hoped we'd somehow all be stranded in the airport and have to hang out for another whole day. 

Ben talked to us about death bed regrets.  He said the top 3 things people wished they had done with their lives were to:

1. Learn a language
2 Write a memoir
3. Play music

1. I've got.  I'm working on points 2 and 3.  In that order.

But allow me to add a fourth:

4. Engage with perfect strangers.  You never know what could happen.

And if you need some help, buy them a beer at 40,000 feet.  Trust me, it works.

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