Minor Accompaniment

seats on a plane with entertainment guide

Sitting on the plane from DCA to ORD next to someone bemoaning the lack of WiFi. This moaning is repeating at regular intervals. Or perhaps the intervals are getting shorter.

It’s not quite as annoying as it sounds.

More like talk radio in the background. Not like political diatribe talk radio. More like a sports show. Not like the sports show with the over the top loud guy. More like the sports talk radio where you have two or three guys doing analysis that makes you think about dialing the station and joining in.

First, there was the call for WiFi. I get nudged and asked, “Is there wifi on this plane?” I replied that there was, but with a charge. My companion fires up his phone and shows me that I am correct.

“Eight dollars!?” I suggested he use a credit card if he wanted to buy it. He doesn’t have one. I joked that I wasn’t paying.

He told me about all the limits he now had. Most of his games, especially the ones he wanted to play, require WiFi. Adding insult to injury he downloaded Spotify playlists–eighties rock–and didn’t remember headphones. “Oh,” said I.

“Look at this one. I can play these four parts but not the duel.”

“Is the duel playing with someone else?”

“It needs wifi.”

I’m thinking, “I got that.” I go back to my article. He plays a game.

“I really wish there was wifi. Check out the graphics on this London driving game. They’re amazing.”

He was right. Even on his smudged and worn screen, the resolution of the arches under the bridge and the crane shot up to the road were very good.

“Is there food?”

“It’s a short flight, but they usually give you peanuts.”

“I don’t like peanuts.”

“That’s too bad, but I’ll eat yours.” He ended up eating them. No extra peanuts for Doc.

“This game is very violent. You lose limbs and your head might blow off. But it doesn’t kill you. Well, it does when your head blows. I’m stuck on Level 8. See right here, (leans over again), I’m riding this bike and I can’t get past the rotating knives. You have to do it three times. ” His character’s head hits a knife and a splotch of cartoon blood dots his screen.

“Woah. That’s gotta hurt.”

“Not really. This is the longest time I’ve been sitting without WiFi.” He turns back to his game.

“Hey, can I put my trash in your cup?”

“Sure.” He turned the sound up on his game. I hear the tat tat tat cymbal crash of game gunfire. If he finishes this level he can earn a gun he really wants.

The flight attendant radios that we are approaching ORD and to put our tray tables up. He jerks his head towards me, “What about the trash?” He had a half drunk coke in front of him.

I took the cup with the lid and straw. “I’ll take it. She’ll be back.” Relieved, he went back to shooting some bad guys. WiFi or not.

He’s nine. It’s his first flight alone. I don’t mind sharing it with him.

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