If you haven't read about my trip out to Philadelphia here, it is a prerequisite for reading this post.
On my last leg home from Philadelphia, I found myself sitting next to the most precocious 10 year old girl from Ft. Worth. Her name was Tabitha and she was traveling alone to Tulsa to see her grandmother. I was sitting on the aisle of a three seat row. When she arrived for her middle seat, she immediately introduced herself with confidence and charm. Then she said, "My daddy wants me to show you where my epi-pen is." I asked her what she was allergic to and she explained that she was allergic to peanuts and that was when I found out that the nice lady to her right, by the window, was an EMT. She was going to be in good hands sitting between a mom and an EMT.
She called her dad just before take-off to report that she was on board and between two nice ladies and that we had been informed of where her epi-pen was. Then she dutifully turned her cell phone to airplane mode. Some time after take off she decided to work on her homework. When she pulled out her math homework, I did a double take.
Please notice the second word problem.
I had a small internal freak out moment when I saw that on my flight home, palindromes were making an appearance again. Then Tabitha asked me to explain it to her. So I started in the simplest of terms...Bob, Anna, Racecar...
That is when the woman on the other side of her who is the EMT leaned forward and said,
"A man, a plan, a canal, Panama."
My mouth dropped open, I stared at her in disbelief. I stammered for a few seconds and she thought that I didn't understand, so she said it again and started to explain that it was a palindrome.
When I recovered the gift of speech, I tried to tell her that the exact same palindrome had been uttered by me on Monday on an American Airlines flight and that I was feeling like I was being punked. Poor Tabitha. The gibberish that ensued. The palindromic nonsense!
I did finally resume helping Tabitha with her homework. I also found out that the woman's name was Heidi and she was from Indianapolis. She is visiting her best friend who is trying to get into the medical school where I work. She knows all about simulations and has participated in quite a lot herself. I can't remember how the conversation turned to polyunsaturated fats, but I quickly realized that she knew a lot about Chemistry and that brought us to her recommending that I buy a coffee mug with a caffeine molecule on it. I explained that I already had one. But she knew about the website thinkgeek.com. She knew about the website thinkgeek.com! I told her that I had purchased my BeEr glasses from there. Heidi and I could definitely have been good friends.
When the plane landed, Tabitha and I had successfully finished her math homework, connected on Pinterest, avoided peanut products, and had orange juice together. Heidi and I had exchanged palindromic nonsense sentences, geeked out over caffeine molecules and gross wounds for medical simulations. I bid them both farewell and hugged my family after a long five days away.
When I told them about the palindromes on the way home on the flight Emma said, "Mom, you are living in a palindrome." How very clever she is. My trip was the same forwards and backwards.
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