Last Thursday if you were on a plane to Vegas, you may have seen some people snoozing, some reading, and some playing video games. You might have noticed one grading papers. That would be me. The woman next to me who was working on her computer chuckled that we were both working on vacation, but we agreed that time on a plane is just down time and might as well be used to get something done.
After an hour and a half I stood up for a break. As I walked to the back of the plane a gravelly voice called, “Did I get an A?”
He was probably in his late 60s, a skinny white guy with long gray hair in a pony tail and a straggly beard. Let’s call him Old Biker Dude.
“A+,” I called back and continued on my way.
Back in my seat I finished grading before we landed.
On the ground we did the usual impatient crowding the aisles that people always do on planes, waiting for them to let us off.
Old Biker Dude was one of the first to stand up and managed to work his way up next to my seat, loudly chatting with people along the way. Pretty soon he announced to all that the school teacher had given him an A+, saying, “She was grading papers the whole way.”
I did my best to stay small and quiet in my seat.
Somehow he turned the coerced conversation to politics. “There idn’t nobody running that I want for president.”
A man just ahead of us turned to face him. He was an old white guy too, but with smooth cheeks and wisps of gray hair covering his head. He was dressed in a polo, tucked in with a belt, and khaki pants. Let’s call him Small Town Grandpa.
Small Town Grandpa agreed. “No, there’s nobody I want to vote for either.”
They chatted for a few moments about the hopelessness of it all. Then Small Town Grandpa said, “I’ve been a Republican all of my life. But I think I’m going to vote for Clinton.”
Old Biker Dude shook his head. “I’ve been a Democrat all my life and I’m going to vote for Trump.”
They stared each other in the eye for a beat. Then Old Biker Dude turned to me. “Hey Teach. I’ve got a grandson who’s real smart…”
About then the line shifted and I moved down the aisle trailed by tales of all he was teaching his grandson.