A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting in California for campus ministry that demanded a great deal of focus and attention, which of course, between that and the travel with short turn around, let me drained. So I was looking forward to the return trip where I could become anonymous and delve into the page of notes I had made for my upcoming sermon.
Because of the demands of the meeting, I had failed to check-in online exactly twenty-four hours to the flight so I was dealt a lousy boarding number. While I had managed to score a window seat on the flight out, I knew I wouldn't even get an aisle seat. I was going to be stuck in the middle.
My strategy then was simply to grab the first available center seat I came upon on on the side of the plane that would be facing north during the flight, since the north side would not have the sun shining on it. That side of the plane is cooler, at least in my mind. As I walked back the aisle, I saw my target, dropped my laptop bag in it so I could work, and stowed my shoulder bag. And then I discovered to my horror, that the guy I would be sitting next was a guy who had been loudly talking with another guy at the gate about their Italian heritage. Everyone can recognize an evangelist, whether religious or not. This guy was an Italian evangelist. His identity was thoroughly steeped in the history and culture of Italy and he was happy to talk to anyone about it. And I dreaded this.