Forty years ago in the dark ages of air travel, in-flight entertainment was not nearly as advanced as it is today. Back when I was a kid, all they had were drop down screens from the ceiling that showed one movie. Today most planes have personal video screens at each seat with a hundred channels and thirty movies to choose from, as well as video games, dining options, and shopping. True, you have to get practically butt naked to go through security, pack all your toiletries in containers the size of a lipstick, and pay extra for just about everything, including your luggage, food, movies, and eventually, I'm sure, even use of the bathroom.
But at least you have your own video screen.
Still I have to admit, it's kind of nice not having to crane your neck to see a bad movie on an itty-bitty screen above the heads of people three seats in front of you.
So, on my most recent flight out of town, I settled in for a couple of hours of mindless entertainment.
But just as I was about to select a movie, a message flashed across my video screen:
"Seat 13F has invited you to chat."
Thinking it was an error message of some kind, I hit the back button. But the message flashed on the screen a second time.
I stared at it dumbly until the woman in the seat next to me said, "Did you know that you can do seat-to-seat chats with other people on the plane?"
"Why would I want to do that?" I asked her.
"It's good if you and your travelling companion are seated separately," she paused. "Or if someone thinks your single and wants to get to know you better," she said with a wink.
I was, in fact, travelling alone and I was not wearing a wedding ring because my fingers always swell when I fly. Was it possible someone in another row thought I was available and was seat chat hitting on me? At first I was aghast. But then I was kind of flattered. And then I was really, really curious.
I declined the seat chat invitation because I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. Then I tried to peer over the seat behind me to see two rows back and to the other side of the plane where the F seats were. But I couldn't see who was there. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer and I got up, ostensibly to go to the bathroom, but really to see who my suitor was in 13F.
As I approached row 13, I peered to the end to seat F. At first I couldn't see anyone and thought perhaps he had gone to the bathroom, too. But then the occupant of the seat leaned forward and I realized I hadn't been able to see him because he was really short. Not that I have anything against short guys. But this guy was short because ... he was a child.
Page 2 of 2 - My mystery suitor was a 10 year-old boy.
I giggled to myself and then leaned over to the mom in the aisle seat.
"You son invited me to do a seat-to-seat chat," I whispered to her.
She smiled. "Did you accept?"
"No," I admitted. "I was flattered, but I'm married."
She laughed out loud.
"Don't sweat it," she said. "He invited the whole plane."
Tracy's new book, "Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs," is now available. Get it on Amazon and everywhere books are sold!