On a recent trip to Washington, DC this week, as I boarded my American Airlines flight and walked back to my coach seat, I saw a face looking up at me that I recognized. He looked up, we locked eyes for a fraction of a second, and both abandoned it.
I sat down in the row behind him. It was the controversial Republican Congressman from Arizona, Paul Gosar.
I pulled up his Wikipedia page and remained entertained for about half an hour. Needless to say, I am not very aligned with his views. Remember, this is the guy whose own brothers and sisters endorsed his opponent in his re-election run, because they thought he was too much of a crackpot.
He spent the entire four hours of flying time hunched over his phone reading things, but also with some interludes paying Solitaire.
I always sit in the exit rows and the seat next to me was empty. I guess he could easily have ended up sitting next to me.
I have to admit, I do not know whether I would have had any conversation with him in that case. I normally do not engage with fellow travelers at all. Yes, I am that guy. But I don’t know if I could have held myself back.
I don’t think anyone else around us recognized him, and at the end, I walked off the plane in DC right behind him. He met somebody there, and I walked on. We never talked.