Tuesday, November 27, 2018
I was off with my wife on a Saturday night to see some chamber music at the Ordway in St. Paul, Minnesota. We entered the hall early enough that the seats were still sparsely populated, but as we approached our two assigned spots I got a sinking feeling. Right about next to where it seemed like we'd be sitting was a big man. A Big Man. He had a beard. And he was 300 pounds if he was an ounce.
Yes, it turned out I was sitting next to him.
Oh reader, shed not a tear for me.
Let us both scale back our prejudice, or, possibly, our informed experience, but probably the first because HE was a brilliant seat buddy.
Brilliant. A gentleman. A mensch.
Arms self-consciously tucked in, huddled into his seat, moving as little as possible, he observed not just the minimal, paltry boundaries of the dividing line down the center of our arm rest and the floor line between our chairs, but he also observed the highly advanced concept of The Buffer Zone. He did not touch our arm rest at all. He, and I for that matter, allowed a couple inches either side of the dividing line between us as a no man's land, a de-militarized zone that none entered. There was not merely a line between us, but a bubble, a cushy force field of human distance.
It was great.
I don't know how he did it. He was very big. But he managed. We did not talk. We never even came close to jostling or even a single accidental touch. I would not recognize him now, a mere two days later, in a small line up of 322 pound bearded men. But he was my buddy. My buddy.
And though there was a modest passage of time in which he breathed very loudly, I wouldn't have traded him for the world.