Here is a picture of a busy afternoon at the Charlottesville, Virginia airport:

There are five gates, three airlines, and one security line. The whole system is basically dummy proof. Maybe that explains the behavior of the people on the first leg of my trip to San Francisco.

First of all, we were in a jet. Seasoned CHO travelers are among a very small group of travelers who still know what it’s like to fly in a passenger propeller plane. First Target, then Five Guys, now jet travel…watch out, Roanoke!

That did not stop the woman sitting in the opposite row from crossing herself several times as we began to take off. Half way into the flight, the guy sitting next to me, who resembled a twelve year old, made his move.

“So,” he said right as I was about to put back in my earphone, “is Atlanta your final stop today?”

“What?” I said. Was it my final stop? Something was off about the guy. His smile was too broad. I got a whiff of serial killer with a hint of horror movie child star. “No.”

“Ahh.” He was still smiling. “So where are you headed, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“San Francisco.”

He was really grinning now. “Long flight!”

“Yup.”

The conversation should have died a natural death every few seconds, but he kept resuscitating it, and before I knew it, I had told him why I was moving to San Francisco. Then I learned he had grown up in Belize, which reassured me a little bit, and then that he was a missionary, which explained the terrible conversational transitions but scared me again.  Finally, he asked if I had a purpose in life.

“A purpose?” I asked. I told him I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but that I wanted to be happy.

He pondered this for a moment. “Would you like to hear my purpose?”

“To be honest,” I told him, finally smiling, “no.” Luckily he took it personally and didn’t say another word to me the rest of the flight.

If you think that the only point of this story is to ridicule some poor 22 year old missionary who was just looking for another friend for himself and for Jesus, well, you’re right. He was a sketchball and you should demand to switch seats if you are within two rows of him.

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