On Baptist conversion and other things not to attempt at 40,000 feet

“Praise the Lord!” my Born-Again neighbor exclaimed when I told him the Hebrew pronunciation of my name was based on my Jewish heritage. “This is gonna be a long flight” I thought back. In my attempt to stay mensch-like to his gentile charm, I couldn’t help but smile and nod as he recounted his navy days and the transformation he made into becoming a pastor and moving with his wife to Ireland seven years ago. Amidst the predictable airplane conversion and passionate appeal for Christ — “I can’t wait until the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem. You know, in Revelations…”, “I am so happy that I can be sure that I will be saved in the afterlife”, etc. — we also were able to bond on a deeper, more spiritual level – “Isn’t it crazy that you can get a computer today with a terabyte of hard drive? I remember when it was only a gigabyte!”, “There are computers with four processors running simultaneously! OMFG!” Ok, so he may not have made that last exclamation…

When we moved onto Creationism vs. Evolution, it was pretty clear no progress was going to be made in our conversing: “Irreducible complexity” he informed me, in his attempt to discount all of evolution. “Boatloads of evidence and fossil records” I parried. Perhaps I should have been focusing on the Amy Adams movie in front of me… at least her superstitions were romantic.

All in all, though, the seven years in Ireland must have softened out his Navy edges. Despite my unapologetic acceptance of a life without Christ as my personal savior, he gave me his number and told me if I needed anything while in Ireland that I shouldn’t hesitate to call him. Between that and his excitement about quad-core processors, I’d say I could have done much worse with a seat-mate. The food on the other hand…

Just as a clue to all airlines *cough*AerLingus*cough* out there, if you give the option between vegetarian and vegan, and a passenger chooses vegetarian, don’t give a vegan meal. It makes the passenger feel quite disappointed to see everyone else with cake and real butter, while he’s left with fruit and margarine. At least the tomato sauce on my plain bow-tie noodles was flavorful :/ The service was lovely, though, with very nice and efficient attendants. Also, gotta love the Enya music and animated smoking passenger in the safety video.

Arriving in Dublin, I got a rude awakening… to TSA’s ineptitude. It seems that back in Chicago, TSA had missed the corkscrew I had in my bag and the 1-ounce-too-big face soap. On my connection to Shannon, the DAA would have none of it. $10 in the trash later, I went looking for the breakfast place…

€10 later, I had a Vegetarian Breakfast Plate – eggs, beans, hash browns and toast. Beans at 8am was new for me, but I figured if I had to deal with another conversion-happy seatmate on my connection flight, they might come in handy ;)

The flight to Shannon was crazy-short, like Madison to Milwaukee short, so no drink cart. Interestingly, though, despite being the same size aircraft as the transatlantic flight, this plane was barely 10% full. Perhaps that’s why Aer Lingus is beginning to cancel Shannon-Dublin flights starting in January.

I’m currently sitting in the Shannon Airport waiting for my CityLink bus to take me to Galway. The friendly man I met in Borders with my parents in Madison who told us stories about Ireland was right — this airport is smaller than Madison’s. I’d take calm and boring over crowded and hectic in an airport, any day, though. Speaking of calm and boring…

The weather is a dreary 65 and overcast. One thing I became very aware of in the plane over was the layers and layers of clouds over here. As if to say: “if you see it clearing up, don’t worry, there’s still five layers to go.” However, the clouds do have their own charm. Because of the layers, you can always see stunning formations up in the sky, instead of one solid grey color. Down on the ground, I’ve yet to explore the wonders I’ve heard so much about. Though, I did see one small, old castle just before landing in Shannon.

Since you’ve made it this far through my ramblings I’ll post a few pictures and sign off.

American Missionaries in Dublin Airport
Dublin Sky



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