Tap Me Up, Scotty

Star Trek, future, Scotty

Paramount/Everett/Rex Features

I’m not an easy flyer, and I know many of you aren’t either.

So imagine this.

I’m on an airplane leaving the city of love to return to the city of champions, and incidentally, the city where 9/11 began.http://vimeo.com/40340913

I keep my head buried in my book, burying as well memories and misgivings, expectations and excitement on my upcoming re-location. But the fellow sitting next to me (I’m in the aisle, he’s in the window seat, with no one in between), in his early 40s, well-dressed with the requisite 2-day-old beard and unscuffed suede loafers, continually looks at his watch. Boston, city of champions

Over and over again.

Then he peers around his shoulder.


Back to the watch.

He sighs, pulls out his laptop, opens it impatiently, and checks out his watch, the laptop, then behind his shoulder. Obsessively.

I think to myself…YIKES. I’ve never been described as a busybody, but after 20 minutes of this, my heart is leaping into my throat, and I’m afraid that if I alert the air flight attendant, no words will escape from my mouth.

And what words would I use? “I think I’m sitting next to a terrorist”…?

I realize how extreme my fears are, and return to my book.

Until my seatmate begins to tap on his watch, then talks to it. Yes, he brings it up to his mouth and  t  a  l  k  s.

Then he checks his laptop. Looks over his shoulder …and leaps up and rushes to the back of the plane.

I am petrified.

Where’s the attendant? What should I do? What would you do?

I take in a gulp of air, talk to myself soothingly, something like, “He’s an air marshal.” Then, “He’s a crazy guy who thinks he’s an undercover cop.” Then, “He’s a bad guy – get help!”

The bad guy returns, politely thanking me for standing up so he can slide into his seat. I decide to speak up.

“So, you’re working hard on some research, huh?” I stutter with eloquence.

The expression that washes across his face is priceless: pride, wariness, dismay that he needs to answer the questions of a middle-aged woman, apprehension, and joy.

“Yes,” he says.

Then he returns to work, tapping the watch, talking into it, checking his laptop, and now, marking a paper spreadsheet with colored pens.

I relax, laugh lightly at myself, until a male flight attendant stops at our aisle, staring at my seatmate and his appliances.

I hold my breath.

“You’ve got it,” the attendant says.

“Yup, testing,” replies the passenger.

Apple Watch“I want to be first up for the Apple Watch!” the attendant chirps like a little boy asking for a new toy.

“Soon!” the unshaven genius says, and then he ignores us both and goes back to work.

My heartbeat saunters to a crawl of embarrassment and mortification. The new world is sitting next to me, but I just want to slink into my book and stay there forever. Back to the day when watches were for telling time; when “terrorist” was a word rarely applied; and when Star Trek was about a time far far into the future.

But wait! Maybe that’s the next step. In a few years, a talking watch will be no big deal. The next step will be a tap and no need for an airplane – our electrons will be transported with ease.

Star Trek, Apple Watch




27 thoughts on “Tap Me Up, Scotty

  1. I would have reacted exactly as you! You know I am a nervous flyer and I fly to NC by myself on Sat….I have given in and got little yellow pills from the dr that keep me (relatively) calm and happy during flights – I highly recommend them!


    • I envy you the 35-min vs 6 hours, but I know what you mean. And YES, my next thriller is definitely set in Boston and the NE surroundings. Now, if I could only unpack so I can sit and write the next chapter!


  2. The great gift that is the making of a writer is an over-active imagination. It’s also the surest way down the path of paranoia. : ) Priceless.


  3. Something like this happened to me last year. I had a very nasty fellow sitting next to me who literally pushed a woman who tried to store some overhead luggage in what he thought was his space. The woman ignored him and he put his suitcase in the space above him. I didn’t say a word during the entire 5 hour flight. His behavior got more bizarre , he was opening and closing files, doing other odd things. I was petrified. This person really frighten me but I didn’t say anything during the flight until the next day when someone from the airline called me for something ( I don’t remember what ) and before she hung up I described to her what happened and she seemed to be very interested. I still don’t know the end of this story.


    • I kind of wonder about our silence. Is it because we’re women, and we’re not supposed to be assertive, even toward nasty people? Or is it because we just want everything to go away. I know that I avoid conflict as much as possible. In your circumstance, I wish the air flight attendant had seen his behavior and commented to him. But maybe the attendant didn’t want confrontation either!


  4. That must’ve been scary indeed Pam. I’m glad there turned out to be a positive explanation for his behaviour. Imagination – indeed a blessing and a curse, but certainly one I wouldn’t want to be without. Blessings on your new home – and I hope the unpacking is completed soon, so you can continue writing. Hugs, Harula xxx


  5. I don’t like to fly. I like the convenience of it, but I have to put myself in a certain mental mode when I fly, especially if it is a long flight. I do better when hubby is sitting next to me, but I get claustrophobic. I prefer an aisle seat so I do not feel trapped. I hope your next life adventure is all good! 🙂


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