Traveling Companions

Based on the daily prompt: Middle Seat

Though my parents typically drive to locations out of town, there were the few occasions we took the Metrolink, Amtrak, and Southwest planes. From my youngest train ride to my most recent flight, I have made friends of all ages along the way.When I was 6, we took the Metrolink to Downtown LA. The train was modern looking (for 2004). Fortunately, not many people occupied the seats. I wanted to eat a meal on the train, but my dad said they did not offer a food car because Metrolink had relatively short trips. I walked around the train with him, for I was required to move between cars with him. We walked to the front, where I was allowed to pull the string that sounded the horn. On the hour-long journey to LA, filled with numerous stops, I spent time with some boy I had just met. Being 6, I was easily swooned. I barely remember what we did or what his name was. I just recollect walking around the train and meeting his mother.

When I was 8, my family and I took the Amtrak trains and buses to Portland, Oregon for my brother’s wedding. Because the trip was longer (we had to spend one night on the train), there was a food car and a dining car. According to my dad, the seats were made of this fabric that made the passenger feel warm when sitting in it. When we tried to sleep, they wouldn’t turn on the night lights (hidden behind a blue screen). Apparently, the dining car was expensive, so we resorted to eating Cuppa Noodles from the food car. They put the food in boxes, but the attendant had to set up the boxes instead of the customer. The train had one car that most of the passengers sat in, the sightseeing car. It was covered in windows, so people could see outside and feel like they were there. My mom recalled traveling through a lush forest with lots of green foliage. At the time, I had my dad’s HP Pavilion with Windows XP, so I used that to play Pajama Sam and other games I had on there. The train had a play area where most of the kids went, so I brought my dad’s laptop and let the kids play on it.* My dad saw that the train advertised wi-fi, but he could not access it. He did not enjoy the train, but being a kid, I was indifferent.

*Now that I think of it, the laptop might have been my old NEC with Windows 98, a hand-me-down from my dad when I was 3. My brother bit the keys off, and it used dial-up instead of wi-fi.

Most recently, I took a flight from Burbank to Las Vegas (and then FLL, after that). It was my first flight by myself, so I made sure I got a good spot in the queue. I checked-in online 24 before my flight and received the spot of A44, or something like that. When I was in line to board the plane, I asked the people in line if they did the same thing. One woman two spots in front of me said she paid for the early-bird check-in. Debbie, the woman one spot in front of me, told me she did the same thing I did. I continued talking to her. Debbie was a woman in her 60s (if I remember correctly), and she had a cup of coffee in her hand. She was going home to Reno after visiting her daughter in LA. I asked Debbie if I could sit with her for the short, 45 minute flight. She said I could, so we looked for a seat on board. I preferred window, she claimed aisle seats were the most popular, due to their accessibility. We took a seat next to a man, about Debbie’s age, who went by Bob. Bob was just as friendly as Debbie. He let me read his newspaper. The three of us talked about where we were from and what we were doing in Burbank (or in Vegas).

On my flight from MSY (New Orleans) to LAS, I took a window seat, and a boy my brother’s age sat next to me, due to his later position in the queue. (Middle seats aren’t that popular…) We talked every now and then during the flight (I swear, I saw him staring at my chest sometimes). He was going to Reno to see (I believe it was) his dad, who was in the military, after 2 months. Cameron was a sweet kid. There was a point where I had to use the restroom, and right as I warned him to get up from his seat, the man at the end of the aisle got up and took the vacant bathroom. It was not even a coincidence. The bathroom was vacant for a while, and the asshole decided to take it right when I needed it. Nonetheless, I sat in the guy’s seat, since I was next to use it anyway, and I swore I would pee in his seat if he took a long time. If he was going to be rude, then I might as well have a little fun with it. Cameron needed to use it after me, but a girl, who waited in line (you’re not supposed to wait in line on a plane), took it right after me.

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