Overheard Above NYC

As travelers streamed on the plane I was taking from Houston to New York last Saturday, I sighed with relief as the two seats next to mine remained empty. Could I be lucky enough to get a whole row to myself for this three and a half hour flight? No.

Seconds into the safety spiel, a man with a leather briefcase rushed on to the plane, noticeably frazzled and irritated about nearly missing the flight. After an inaudible argument with a flight attendant greeter, he headed to the back of the plane, and stopped next to my seat indicating he was to join me in row 16.

A microwave cheeseburger and iceberg lettuce side salad was served for dinner (yes they still serve food on Continental!) while the man sat fuming. After jamming his finger on the call button several times, a flight attendant casually approached and they proceeded to have an argument about airplane food over my aisle seat (he had the window).

There was no way I could shelter myself from their conversation. Apparently, he refused to take the economy class food offering "on principle" because he had paid for a first class ticket and wanted first class drinks and food in row 16. I unintentionally gained an intimate knowledge of my row partner. He was irate, but he was also a "reasonable" man (his description). His lawyer, a powerful litigator apparently, would help him get the meal he deserved. His luggage was MIA. He was only on Day One of his holiday and all he got from the flight attendant was a customer service web site address scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

In any case, we parted ways without any verbal exchange. But Window 16's story left an impression on me. Conversations that I've overheard are often more memorable than those I have participated in.

And for your eavesdropping pleasure, I offer you the web site Overheard in New York. It captures snippets of conversations heard on the streets, subways, stores and offices of the city.

paul, Oct 23 2005 12:09PM

this is the funniest site !!!

mark, Oct 24 2005 9:52AM

i once had drinks with a sikh college student en route to atlanta. after landing and procurring luggage, i gave the aspiring scientist a lift to his girlfriend's dorm room at georgia tech. i like to think i did my part as an ambassador.

Ann, Oct 25 2005 12:19AM

On a flight from Raleigh to Chicago I sat next to an 8-yr-old boy on his way home from camp. We played hangman and I gave him an empty film container for one of his teeth that fell out on his trip.