I didn’t realize you don’t get a seat assignment. Sometimes, they take you to a destination and you stay on the plane until the next leg of your journey.
Overall, there are a few unknowns when traveling Southwest that you don’t encounter on the more established airlines.
The board read Southwest to New Orleans, so I asked the attendant at the desk if I was at the right gate. “Yes, you will just stay on the plane in New Orleans then continue on to Houston,” she explained.
I was returning from a visit to good friends. Friends I would have never met if I would not have taken the risk of moving from trade school in Minnesota to take an internship for the summer in Texas.
Yes, winter in Minnesota and summer in Texas. It can be done. And if you are somewhat desperate for an income, the lack of housing in an area that was recently devastated by hurricanes will not stop you.
Although the office manager had warned me the company-owned condos were filled with men, she also said they would find a place for me.
And they did. A brand new Homewood Suites.
That summer led me to my friendship with K & R, who eventually married and invited me back four years later to enjoy their pool.
I thought about that as I considered the fact that Southwest does not provide seating assignments.
Ugh. I hope I don’t have to wedge in between large individuals or those who haven’t showered recently or loud people.
This was the return leg and I recalled one seat mate who managed to pick his nose for some time, while wearing his mask.
It was all I could do not to offer him a tissue.
I was in group C for loading and I noticed there was only one other person in my group as we approached the gate.
I took the first available seat – the first row and between two women. It had been a scramble and I was relieved to plop myself down after storing my carry-on.
The woman to my right was fit and smiling, quick to make eye contact. “OH no,” I thought, “I have no interest in chatting.”
I closed my eyes.
Somewhere in mid-flight that changed. She had recently become a grandmother and so had I. I asked to see photos and the dam opened.
As we exchanged stories, she kept exclaiming, “ARE YOU MY TWIN?”
We had far too much in common, painful divorces after lengthy marriages, re-discovery of ourselves, adventuring out as single women on vacations.
It is a New Year and I realize how my greatest gifts come from the opportunities where I am forced to embrace the unknown.
It is in that Mystery that Magic seems to happen. When I don’t know where housing will be for 3 months or who I will be seated next to, I am given something of great value.
In both cases, my summer in Houston, my flight on Southwest, I was given friendships. I would not be flying back to Houston if K & R had not invited me to come enjoy their pool.
We both professed the goodness of our faiths. There is no way we could have thrived in our situations without it. We both run to help our heads, but appreciate the physical benefits as well.
We exchanged contact information as we de-planed and I thanked the God that still provides in ways I never expect .
A new year and a new friend, what more could I ask for?
May you too, find pleasant surprises as you step forward into the unknown. Bring it, 2022!