‘Excuse me,’ I turned to my left to the man sitting next to me on the 7am flight to Sydney and smiled. ‘Yes?’ People were still boarding around us and I was killing time checking Twitter before being told to switch my iPad to flight mode.
‘Oh. I couldn’t help notice…’ He was looking at my hand which held my pump. I finished pressing a button to silence an alarm and hastily shoved the device back down my top, all the time looking at him. He paused and I waited for the question about what it was I had in my hand, or, perhaps, recognition. He looked flustered.
‘Um. I couldn’t help notice what you were looking up on Twitter. Did you go last night?’
He motioned to the stream I was scrolling through – all images and tweets of the previous night’s Rolling Stones concert at Rod Laver Arena. My smile got wider.
‘Yes!’ I said. ‘Were you there?’
He shook his head. ‘I have tickets for Saturday night at Hanging Rock, but I’m selling them to someone. It’s my best mate’s 40th birthday, so…’ He let his voice trail off. ‘So, how was it?’
I started with ‘AMAZING!’ and went through every superlative I could think of, telling him how incredible the gig was; how amazingly the band played; how energetically Mick Jagger danced.
‘Damn,’ he said. ‘I was hoping you’d tell me that they were past it and it was terrible.’
‘I can lie if you want me to. But really – it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen!’ I then thought of something. ‘Did you say you have someone to buy your tickets for Saturday?’
‘I think so. I’ll find out later this morning.’
I reached into my bag and handed him my card. ‘Sorry for being so forward, but if, for some reason, your friend doesn’t want them, please call me. I’ll buy them from you.’
‘Sure,’ he said, tucking my card into his shirt pocket.
I went back to scrolling through the tweets and glanced back. He was still looking at me.
‘Um…’ he started. ‘Well…have a good flight.’
‘Thanks! I’m about to fall asleep. Clearly I don’t have the energy of the Stones – I’m exhausted after the late night.’ I smiled at him again, turned off my iPad and promptly fell asleep before the plane took off, waking just in time to hear the seatbelt sign being turned off. We were in Sydney.
It was the usual craziness as passengers jumped up, grabbed their bags and jostled to get off the plane. As my seat-mate reached up to the overhead locker to pull down his briefcase, I saw it. There, sticking out of his trouser pocket, was a pump line.
He turned in time to see me noticing it. He stopped for a moment before saying, ‘Well…See you later. I’ll be in touch if the tickets don’t sell.’
‘Cool. Good luck. Enjoy your friend’s 40th – it better be worth it!’ And then, before he walked down the passageway, I said, ‘You’ve got my card.’
The highlight at the Stones’ gig was their first encore – You Can’t Always Get What You Want – because the Consort of Melbourne, conducted by one of my mates, provided the choral introduction. And here it is!