So I’m riding home from the airport on one of those shared ride busses, and I’m sitting next to a rather dapper looking fellow with a tweed suit and dark rimmed glasses. He has wild curly black hair and a distracted look on his face.
It’s been a long flight. I’m not really in the mood to talk. He doesn’t say anything, so neither do I.
An hour later we arrive at his destination, and he pays the driver with a credit card, and the driver asks, “So you’re a doctor or something?”
“Actually,” he says with a slight Russian accent, “I’m a scientist.”
I’m already kicking myself.
“What, like a nuclear scientist?” the driver asks.
“No, actually I’m a rocket scientist.”
Now I’m really kicking myself. “Darn,” I say, “I’m a science fiction writer! I should have been talking to you all this way!”
He looks at me, mouth open. “You’re a science fiction writer?” he says. “I love science fiction!”
But we’re at his hotel and he has to get off, and the driver has to drive me home. So it was a lost opportunity for both of us.
Lesson learned: Always strike up a conversation with someone you’re sitting next to, because you never know. It might be someone you’re actually interested in talking to.