This post is part three of three.
In its entirety it constitutes 2,000 words that I wrote following a fateful flight between Calgary, Canada and London Gatwick last year, but never posted.
It’s about a connection I made with a perfect stranger.
= = = =
And so it went on. We talked – in all – for about 8.5 hours, the full duration of the flight. We talked about, in no particular order: life in the UK; life in Canada; differences between Canada and the US; the university systems in the UK, US and Canada; our various attempts at keeping fit; families; politics; manual vs automatic cars; books we had both read in the last year; our personality types (Myers Briggs – we’re similar to within one letter); our values and our aspirations… And that’s just the stuff I can remember.
Above all – I felt a profound connection with him. I experienced him as intensely authentic, honest, decent, unsullied. He didn’t have that urban, cloney, contrived persona that is – to me – so very staid and yet so very common in cities like the one I live in. Instead – he was something rare and special and honest and real and any description I give won’t be enough to accurately describe him. It just won’t. I felt that we were perfectly attuned to the same wavelength and the white noise I experience with the vast majority of people I interact with was not there. It surprised me considerably.
I scribbled my contact details on to the back of my boarding card which I then gave to him, telling him that if he needed any help or wanted to meet up again whilst in Europe to get in touch. He was meeting up with a friend for a small part of the trip but most of it he’d be doing alone.
I felt – as I reflected at the time – that I’d met a kindred spirit.
So 8.5 hours later (having nearly lost my voice) we arrived in London. The flight had gone more quickly than I could ever have imagined. It had felt like half the actual duration. I introduced him to S who seemed rather miffed. We went through immigration (he was in the non-EU line, of course), then met up again in baggage reclaim. S raced off as had a train to catch to London Bridge and so the two of us travelled to Victoria together. On arrival I helped him get an Oyster card.
I told him to contact me if he needed any help or info at all. I knew he was meeting a friend flying in to London later that day and would be with them for a week in France and then back in the UK – on his own. And we then said our goodbyes.
He emailed me two days later. And I’ve replied.
PS I shouldn’t need to add this disclaimer but I will – my chance encounter with him didn’t, in my mind, constitute a ‘love interest’; instead it represented a ‘connection’ – like in Lost in Translation. It really was like that. I felt like I’d made a genuine connection, met someone who I was actually on a very similar wavelength to. Through fate. I considered his sexuality to be really rather irrelevant.