"You in the military?"
I was confused at first and didn't know why the man would ask me such a question. But then I remembered my recent haircut.
"No... is it because I shaved my head, that you think that?"
He laughed, in confirmation. At the time he seemed good-natured and so I decided to try and spark some kind of conversation. After all why not? I had two hours worth of sitting ahead of me, and I was bored of the silence.
"Do you think it's weird that I shave my head?". Admittedly I'm not the most graceful conversationalist. "Not at all... so why are you headed to Boise?". I told him I live there and that I just got back from Europe. For some reason where I came from didn't interest him much.
"You study at BSU?". I told him no, and he started to sway back and forth. He had a weird habit of not being able to stand completely straight. "What do you do?". And I said I was just a pizza-maker, and thought the description was ample. He paused for five minutes and then said in a low condescending voice "I'm gonna pretend you didn't just say that. Now what do you DO?".
I was exhausted from almost twenty hours of drawn out sitting, and plus I was never good at clever responses, so I said dumbly "I don't know". He said "What about CWI? You know, coll-ege-of-west-ern-i-da-ho", pronouncing each syllable precisely. Did he think I had mental problems or something? "I don't know, I haven't looked very deep into it".
He seemed irritated with me and continued that annoying sway of his. My shallow side got the best of me and I couldn't help but form conclusions of what he thought of me. Like for instance; this kid probably spends most of his time playing video-games... that is when he's not smoking pot. Hell, maybe he even does both at the same time. Those were the thoughts that came to me and I was helpless to stop them.
He showed me his military ID, saying proudly "See here, I'm in the military." Placing his finger right on his portrait. I said "Cool!". But I really just wanted some peace and quiet. He put his card back in his wallet. But he had this look about him, that showed deep disappointment. He looked as though he was waiting for some profound response from my end. Did he expect me to bow down, kiss his feet, and shout out "Oh you brave man! I'm simply not worthy of your presence!" But no, all I said was cool and continued to look at the giant digital clock on the wall. Will this plane ever get here!?
"C'mon man, you gotta know what you wanna do in life!". His badgering just wouldn't stop, but I was in no mood to breathe any comebacks beside mechanical responses. I could have told him I had a passion for composing songs on my piano, and that I was self-taught; or that I had enough material on my Kindle Fire to start at least a couple books. I could've even quoted Plato, stating "College polishes pebbles, but dims diamonds". But I don't think that would have jived well with him and would have simply caused me more stress. Why should I bother defending myself to someone who knew absolutely NOTHING about me? I just wanted to get home after a month of being away. Not get lectured by this complete stranger who refused to get the hint.
"My son is seventeen years old and has no idea what he wants to do". Was he talking to himself or me? "I'd like to show him brochures of Michigan or Hawaii," he snickered, "Heck, maybe that would get him out of the house!". I mentally rolled my eyes at him - I was simply too beat to do it physically. I've never been so grateful to have a dad like mine. That poor, poor kid! When the plane, at last arrived, I rejoiced that I didn't have sit next to that meddlesome man. I say this in complete seriousness, that he was quite possibly the most irritating person I've ever met.