Stranger on the plane

As I wrote yesterday or the day before (damn the last week is a blur), I was pretty paranoid about leaving vegas after what happened last time I said goodbye to a friend.  All the bullshit I went through at the airport in Houston to get to vegas, had me dreading the trip even more.  (another story for another time)

As I walked through the door of the airport, a sudden calm washed over me.  Maybe it was the xanax kicking in, maybe it was that I was going to home to see girls, I honestly don’t know what it was.  Maybe it was exhaustion?  Either way I had not a care in the world.  I didn’t take more than 10 steps into the door before I found a porter ready and waiting with a wheelchair for me.  When I showed him the boarding pass on my phone I realized I was in seat 8F  ( yah window seat….maybe I could sleep?).

I barely remember that pat down, even though the foley catheter (who’s name is boppy, for bag of pee) set off the metal wand, I really don’t remember much about it.  We stopped for coffee and I was deposited at the gate.

I was the first to board the plane (after the pilot and flight attendants.)  The agent that took me to the plane even stashed my bag overhead for me.  I balled up my sweatshirt and laid my head on it closing my eyes to let the world drift away.  I couldn’t have slept more than a few minutes, before being awaken by this sight.flight home (9)

Meet Timmy

Timmy is the service dog for my new friend Bob…… Bob has Retinitis Pigmentosa, and is going blind, or as doctors have told him, he should have been completely blind years ago.  But I am getting ahead of myself, let me take a few steps back.

So I open my eyes, see this beautiful patient dog looking at me and let my eyes wonder up the harness to the man holding it.  He asks, “Are you ok with dogs?”…. I kind of shook my head and muttered, “um yeah, but where is he going to sit?”   thinking….Does he get a seat? are you putting a seat belt on him? is he going to sit on your lap?  The stranger responded, “oh he’s just going to sit down under our legs”   HUH?  (remember I have a German shepherd, who always TRIES to lay under my legs)…. Again, Ok.

Sure enough, Timmy laid under the seat in front of the stranger and between his legs.  As the other passengers finished boarding, the stranger allowed me to take several pictures, an introduce myself to Timmy.  At one point he said, I have RP and this is my service dog.  I actually knew what RP was…..well kind of, I knew how to say it, and that it meant he was going blind.  I think I surprised the hell out of him that I had heard of his condition.  You see, I follow and greatly admire the writer Susan Richardson, the author of Stories from the Edge of Blindness.  Susan has also been diagnosed and living with RP for 16 years.  If you don’t know Susan, please check out her blog, you won’t be sorry.

So back to the “stranger” on the plane, His name is Bob by the way, and by the end of the flight, he really was no stranger at all, but an incredible, smart, friendly guy.  We talked for the full four hours of our flight ( although it really felt much shorter than that)  We discussed politics.  yes I said discussed.  We disagreed about a few things, but I think we both LEARNED from each other.

When we were discussing how to find happiness while living with a health condition, he taught me a new term, “stamp collector” to describe a person that holds on to any and every misdeed that someone has done to  them.  We both agreed the secret to happiness is NOT collecting stamps, both literally and figuratively.

I could go on and on about the things we talked about, but I guess the whole point of this post, is that I am glad a “stranger” took a chance to open up about themselves and took the time to listen to another stranger’s stories and opinions.

I’m not a religious person by any means, but I do feel like I was “blessed” that day on my way home, and I am grateful for it.  I am also very grateful to have met so many wonderful new friends here on the interwebz.  Sincerely, I Thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart.

Soon, I’m going to have to tell you all about my Best Friend Gary, (the reason I went to Vegas), and about all the things he did to keep my mind occupied while I was there.  I really am a lucky girl.  For now though, I have the pleasure of Dutch’s company while Dan’s family finds a new home back in Illinois.


Is it a guy thing or a puppy thing that makes them take EVERY toy out of the bin?!?!?  lol

24 thoughts on “Stranger on the plane

  1. Grace, I kept thinking one thing as I read this…….the meeting people, the turning strangers into friends; that is all you! You have a way of opening up, and welcoming in, even those of us who tend to stay hidden. You are a true light; a super cool, funny as hell, smart and gorgeous light. This is undeniable.

    You are also kind and generous. Thank you so much for the kind things you said about me here and posting the link to my blog!

    As to meeting a random person out in the world who happens to have RP; That is wild! I have never, in all the years RP has been with me, met an unexpected stranger who also has it. I love that you could tell Bob that you knew exactly what he was talking about; you may have been the first person he has ever told who actually knows what RP is.

    My gratitude, love, respect, thoughts and heart are with you!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. He described his vision as a donut hole. For example, if he was looking at a 75 inch tv, he could only see the center of the whole and then some peripheral around the outside of the donut….is that what it is like for you? He also explained the bumps on the yelllow part of a curb are for his cane, so that he knows he is approaching an intersection….I was so glad he was willing to share, and as you said in your last post, it sure makes me appreciate that MS is All I am dealing with…most days

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It is different for all of us who have RP, but I love his analogy. What he described is similar to my vision, but the stuff in the far peripheral is pretty rare for me; every once in a while I get startled by something out there making an appearance, but not often. It sounds like I have more central vision than him, which I am incredibly lucky to have. I often wonder how you stay so strong (and you are so incredibly strong) dealing with all you are dealing with. RP only affects one part of my body.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. One reason I love to do the Orange Hair every year – so many people I get to meet and the stories we share. Glad you have a great flight!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. After all you’ve been through I’m glad you could find that bit of happiness in two new friends–Timmy and Bob.
    I really like Bob’s term “stamp collector” and how he’s determined not to be a Johnny-come-philately and let go of things, but it seems like there’s another alternative: you and Bob both seem like people who collect and focus on the positive experiences. You keep a lot of happy things in your toybox and like Dutch play with all of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Girl you can make friends no matter where you go! That is only one reason we are so much a like! I can not go anywhere and not be friendly with others. I am known at my job to find out a person’s life story in a matter of a few minutes. You know how it is, you just ask some probing questions and let the other person do the talking! Timmy looks so precious and full of love! I am glad you made a couple of friends on the flight, that definitely makes the time fly by! Take care my dear and I hope you have a fantastic rest of the weekend!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Doesn’t shock me in the least that you (a) made a friend of a stranger, (b) happened to have a random dog encounter, or (c) met someone with (of all things) RP. I don’t know if I believe in magic, but if it’s real, it seems to have settled upon you like crazy, Grace. Welcome home!


  6. I’m glad you made it home. What an emotional rollercoaster. Your ability to meet and learn about people amazes me. There is a definitive ‘grace’ about you. I’m simply here learning more and more about you, my amazing friend. 💜💜💜


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