On our flight to Seattle, Will had the middle seat. I recognized the woman who took the aisle seat next to him; she was the woman who held up the line at the check-in counter about an hour earlier, when we were panicking (or at least, when I was panicking) about getting through the security checkpoint and making it to the gate on time. We’d already had ourselves a little adventure that included Will walking very fast (and me running, and still far behind him) from the International Terminal to Terminal 2, each of us dragging about 40 pounds of luggage.
I was still sweating when we boarded, my bra uncomfortably damp under my tank top and cardigan, my cheeks burning. Slap a blood pressure cuff on my arm and my reading, I was sure, would be through the roof. We’d bought overpriced water bottles once we were through security, and I was sipping mine like it was a delicacy. It was. It would have to last me until the food service cart came rumbling our way at least an hour later with a thimble-sized plastic cup.
Facing out the window, trying to determine if my luggage was among the heap being loaded into the bowels of the aircraft, I heard Will say, “So where are you headed?”
(A side note: There are introverts and then there are extroverts, and I’ll have you guess which type Will is.)
The woman replied, loud enough for me and the entire back of the plane to hear: She was heading to an Interplanetary Peace Conference in Geneva. It turned out she was a world renown expert on alien abduction, and also a hypnotherapist. Over the next hour and a half, she talked of regressing people. She mentioned an alien implant that had been deeded her in a will. She was writing a book. She’d been on Coast to Coast, not with Art Bell, but with the other guy. Last week, she said, she’d been in Canada. Later she mentioned that she’d just come from an Indian reservation where there had been a Bigfoot sighting, but the witness had been drunk and disorderly and landed himself in jail, so she would have to return to the reservation later to debrief him.
Will asked her about Betty and Barney Hill (“one of the most notorious cases of alien abduction,” she confirmed) and mentioned the X-Files episode of La Chupacabra, which took place in Patterson, a small town near ours in the Central Valley.
She made a note of the name and said she would plan a research trip there in the future.
At one point she laughed loudly at something she herself had said, and the woman in the seat in front of me turned around and asked her to be quiet. Not missing a beat and with what I thought was an admirable display of chutzpah, she handed the woman in front of her a business card.
And then we were in Seattle.
Paula Treick DeBoard