A Flight to San Diego Comic-Con
DTW > SAN
By Christina Himmelspach
Sitting at Gate 76A, waiting for Zone 2 to be called to board. Scanning the area for fellow nerds on their way to San Diego for the 44th year of Comic-Con. I found myself seated across from a guy in his mid-thirties with thick rimmed glasses and short, sandy blond hair, who was rocking a blue Nintendo shirt with all of the iconic characters gathered together, grinning with gigantic smiles that only cartoons could have. On the seat next to him, he had a backpack and a white poster tube. This guy was serious. Most of the people I know just buy poster tubes at the convention for five bucks, or hope to be in the right place at the right time when FOX hands them out as swag. But this guy was bringing his own.
I briefly made eye contact with Nintendo guy and he immediately redirected his gaze to the floor. Then I overheard the guy two seats to my right claim he didn't like Star Wars.
“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “Who the hell doesn’t like Star Wars?”
He glanced towards me with a blank look on his face. “What? I’m sure I’m not the only one.”
I stared back with a look of disapproval, “You’re on your way to quite possibly the biggest gathering of nerdy people in the world, so you have to slightly understand my surprise.”
Nintendo chimes in, “Wait, did he say he doesn’t like Star Wars? That’s crazy!”
I look back over to him, “Right?”
Star Wars hater fell silent while Nintendo continued to stare at me from across the aisle with an awkward smirk on his face. Thanks for taking my side, buddy.
After another minute or so, the call for Zone 1 was made to board. I stood up from my seat, put on my Marvel backpack, grabbed my carry-on suitcase and rolled it over to the window to be closer to the line when my turn to board was up, but not too close to be considered one of those assholes at the airport who is constantly in everyone’s way.
The gate attendant made the announcement for Zone 2 to begin boarding and mentioned that they were looking for volunteers to check extra luggage to make additional room in the overhead compartments on our overbooked flight. I’m always happy to hand over my extra suitcase so I don’t have to spend time finding it a home on the plane, or lifting the damn thing over my head.
While making my way down the aisle of the plane, headed towards Row 16 where I had a fantastic middle seat waiting for me, (SARCASM) I spotted an attractive male sitting in 15A. He looked familiar, but after making eye contact twice in about ten seconds, I lost my opportunity to discretely figure out where I might recognize that face from.
I found my way to 16B and buckled in. I sat there wracking my brain, trying to figure out who this guy was. Treating my mind like a rolodex, I flipped through various places I’d been in my life, trying to come up with mutual friends we could possibly share, thinking of shows that I may have seen him at. Yes. Shows. He was definitely a band guy. But what band and which part of my life would I have met him at? I was involved in the band scene for about eight years, so he could have been from anywhere and could play any genre of music. I narrowed it down to pop/punk based on his look, but that still didn’t help me out much.
Between the seats, I could see him sitting there on his phone, checking his Twitter notifications every couple seconds, and replying to people frequently. He was clearly a popular guy. I couldn’t read anything he was typing, which was okay because that would have been crossing the line from a little weird to just plain creepy.
I tried to divert my attention away from him and decided to scan through the movies available on the in-flight entertainment. I shamefully hadn’t seen The Amazing Spider-Man 2, so I decided to put that on. Of course, a second after I press play, I glanced back between the seats and Mr. 15A was about to start Spider-Man as well.
I had to do something to figure out who this guy was. How the hell do you talk to someone on an airplane who isn’t sitting next to you?
You pass them a note. Obviously.
I took out my notebook and a pen, and thought long and hard about what to say. I decided to keep it simple.
“Hey. You’re cute. Heading home?” It read.
But how was I supposed to give it to him? This could go wrong in so many different ways. We had over four hours ahead of us, sitting a foot away from each other. But hey, I had to believe in the wise words of my Taco Bell sauce from earlier that day, “If you never do, you’ll never know.” And yes, I know Taco Bell totally made that up. (SARCASM.)
I spent about five minutes sitting there, trying to work up the courage to hand him the note. It was like being afraid to jump into a swimming pool because the water might be too cold. Except none of my friends were already in the pool, encouraging me to jump in. I was on my own and I just needed to do it.
I tapped him on the shoulder and handed the note to him through the seats. He looked at me, smiled, took the note and read it. He rotated his body in my direction and said, “No, I’m actually from Maryland.”
I gave him my pen and said, “Here, write me back.”
I sat there, staring at the back of my seat with a huge grin on my face, just laughing to myself because WHO DOES STUFF LIKE THIS?
He handed the note and pen back to me. It read, “I’m from Maryland headed to a show in San Diego. What about you? I’m Adam by the way.”
The rest of the written conversation went like this:
“Nice to informally meet you, Adam. I’m Christina.
And I’m from Detroit.
Fancy band guy, huh? Anything I might have heard of?”
“Maybe! Every Second Gone.
We’re playing at an event during Comic-Con.
What are you visiting San Diego for?”
“I’m actually headed there for Comic-Con myself.
And yes, I’m familiar with your band.
I know David who used to (maybe still does) tech for you guys.”
“What! You know David? That’s crazy.
Such a small world.
I’ve never been to Comic-Con but I hear it’s awesome.
Do you want to grab a drink while we’re in town?”
“Yeah that’d be fun! Are you guys staying downtown?”
“Sure are. I’ll get your number when we get off the plane.
It was nice passing notes with you!
I haven’t done this since middle school lol”
“Haha me either. Enjoy your movie!”
I handed the note back to him without the pen so that I had the last word.
I finished watching Spider-Man while enjoying some Honey Jack Daniel's on the rocks, then decided to read a graphic novel for the rest of the flight.
Before I knew it, we were landing in San Diego. As I was getting off the plane, I noticed Adam and the other guys in the band were waiting for me. We made introductions and began our walk towards baggage claim. On the way, we discussed Comic-Con and how I’m a regular attendee. We talked about the times I’d seen them play but not seen them play because I was at those shows for other bands, and we discovered how many mutual friends we had in the band scene. It was one of those situations where you come across people you’ve been in the same place with at the same time, numerous times before, but for one reason or another, had never actually met.
While waiting for our bags, I gave Adam my number and shared a little more small talk. After a couple minutes, their car arrived. Adam hugged me goodbye and I told the rest of the guys it was nice to meet them, and then they were off to their hotel. I walked down to the taxicab stand to do the same. I was a short ride away from reuniting with my five Comic-Con buddies, and beginning my favorite week of the year; SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON!
*Some names and details were changed to protect identities