Thursday, November 3, 2005

The Long Flight--Part I: William M.

I've come back from Zimbabwe (for a week now...but I've been lazy)! I'm still catching my breath in many ways. There's no internet in the wilds of Africa, so I'm just going back and posting some journal entries for you, at Mr. Bee's suggestion. I hope you enjoy. If you stick it will come to a wonderful story at the end...I promise. I love you guys!

We are now seven hours out of Johannesburg, South Africa. The second leg of this flight is shaping up nicely. (Somehow I don't like those expressions when mixed). I just had a ham and cheese sandwich and water served to me by one of the cutest human beings I've ever seen. I do believe he winked at me. The way you wink at a 6 year old when their parent is sitting right next to them...which is funny because I'm sure I'm much older (than 6...and than he). My "parent" is also an adorable human being...named William M. I only know this because I took a peek at the boarding passes which were "coming out [his] ears". I have not yet worked up the courage to ask officially. Maybe in that 17th hour of flight. Seventeen hours. And an hour to refuel on the Ilha do Sal (Sal Island) . I could not ask for better company to be seated with. He has been cracking me up since take-off. He likes to make funny observations about other passengers and things. These are made all the more cute and funny by the fact(s) that he has a heavy New Zealand/South African accent and just turned 80 years old. You wouldn't know it to look at him. I know I certainly don't hope to be taking this flight when I am 80. Or 30. In his own words, he thinks he's only 40 and is always getting himself into trouble doing "stupid" things like lifting heavy objects with a bad back. But, he said if the most he has to complain about is a bad back, then things are pretty good. I wouldn't exactly call it complaining. Maybe it's the accent. And if he were a complainer, he could surely be bitter about losing his wife or his son, who was paralyzed "like Christopher Reeve" for 20 years. Instead, he just looks far away for a minute or two before coming back to his commentaries. William M. has made me want to cry...and I feel as though I've fallen in love with the world. I'm going to miss him when we part ways. He makes me feel safe...when I otherwise feel misplaced.

A random link in case you're bored...How To Speak South African


  1. Yeah! Welcome, back! Thanks for the link. Here's another one to add:

    Robot = Traffic Light

  2. Oh, I guess that's in there already. I didn't orginally see it since it wasn't on the first page, but still you should check out Raymond's post about the etymology of "traffic light".

  3. That's fun! I never heard anyone use that while I was there. Probably because I was isolated in airport culture, South Africa...which is largely non-South African, I'm guessing!

    I like the Mandarin Chinese word for it also.