How are we not amazed everyday by flowers?
Sitting next to a stranger for a long period of time, say while traveling on public transportation for a considerable distance, can be fairly enjoyable if you get lucky enough to have an interesting, conversational stranger as seatmate.
Yesterday, as I was traveling from Denver to Chicago, just such luck smiled upon me. The passenger in the seat next to me was an agreeable, affable guy who turned out to be a knowledgeable fan of classic Film Noir, especially the work of John Huston and Edward Dmytryk, two of my favorite Directors who excelled in the genre
By chance we had both recently seen The Asphalt Jungle and so spent almost half the flight discussing the influence of that film on modern directors such as Tarantino and Nolan.
The engaging conversation made for a quick flight, which we both remarked on. As we disembarked we thanked each other for the pleasant company and wished each other good luck on our respective journeys (mine being just to Chicago for a few days, his being to Indianapolis for a month on a consulting job).
As I stood waiting at the baggage carousel I thought about all the flights I'd been on over the years and all the people I had sat next to, and it occurred to me that I had met some great people on most of those trips. Thinking about it actually bummed me out a little, as those were people whose company I enjoyed but who I never got to opportunity to see again. Just two to five or so hours of casual friendship and that was it.
Which may have been a good thing - didn't have the chance to get bored with each other or reveal something about ourselves that would have tarnished the whole experience.