My close encounter with Gayle King is an in-flight tale.
Four years ago, I wrote a book on dating and mating titled: Don’t Use My Sweater Like a Towel.
Despite the blunt title, the book is ultimately a non-fiction story about: life, love, human nature and, most important, respect. The man who inspired the rather raunchy title died tragically and in an untimely manner just as the book was being about to be published.
Ironically, he died as a result of not respecting himself. His death was beyond sad.
To this very day it’s a life changer for me.
A few days ago, after a business trip to New York, I was flying out of JFK to LAX (Los Angeles). The weather was bad on both ends and I was not looking forward to the potential for a five and a half hour, very bumpy flight.
That being said, I made it a point to have a cocktail or two before boarding the flight, in the hopes that the alcohol would ease my bumpy traveler nerves.
Being loyal to an airline has it’s perks — I pre- boarded the now delayed United flight and walked down the ramp and into the currently empty plane cabin. I was greeted by the cheery smiles and greetings of the flight crew. Everything seemed so normal.
This brings me to Gayle King. Yes, THE Gayle King: Oprah’s best friend, sidekick, and editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine.
I walked into the now quiet plane, Ms. King said a welcoming, warm and super friendly “hello” while looking at me directly in the eyes. It was as if we were old buddies.
For the record, while I would love to say that I drive up to Oprah’s opulent and sprawling Santa Barbra ranch, to drink expensive wines and top-shelf tequila (I hear Oprah likes tequila!) while having butterfly-filled girlie giggles with her and Gayle King–I don’t.
I am now having this running fantasy in my over active brain (as I’m looking her into the eyes). I imagine that I’m sitting on the Oprah show’s couch, passionately promoting my latest project and vision to save the world and humanity. Yes, this is all happening in that flash of a moment while I am boarding the plane, in the power of Gayle King’s presence and gazing into her eyes. I said “hello” back and continued to my seat.
I was located approximately five rows back in Business Class, where I could actually see the back of Ms. King’s head. After pre-take off champagne, I began to consider creative ways I could give her my business card. She did say “hello” to me. Maybe she really thought that we had met before? Maybe I could bump into her while going to the bathroom?
I ultimately realized that I would do nothing. I believe in respect and personal space. This belief is one of the keys to any kind of relationship.
Ironically, the man who was sitting next to made me feel as if I was on an extremely bad date. He was in my personal space for the entire five and a half hour flight.
I also watched him, eat with his mouth open, slurp his drinks, pick his nose and flick his boogers. Mr. Booger Flicker made me wonder if he was married? Does he get laid? Does he flick his boogers at home? Does this booger flicking also occur at the office?
You know, when it comes right down to it, respecting personal space and not being a Mr. Booger Flicker whether on a plane in business class, dating, married, or in any type of relationship is all about not being a “Space Invader”.
Perhaps I missed my Gayle King moment. But what’s even more important is that I respected her personal space.
This post is dedicated to the memory of R.C. (1965-2006).