In April 2012, on a flight back from NYC, I was seated across the aisle from a woman from Nebraska. We started chatting and I learned (among other things) that she had a connecting flight to catch after our arrival in Minneapolis, whereas she found out it was my final stop.
As we were waiting to disembark, she asked, “Are you in school here?”
For some reason, the question did not register, and I must have been giving her a funny look because she asked it again another way. “Are you a student? In college?”
“Oh! College. No,” I said, unable to keep the grin from spreading across my face. “No, I’ve graduated. Awhile ago, actually.” The grin got wider and I chuckled a bit. “But it’s so nice of you to say that, to think I’m still in college!”
Confused, she tipped her head and regarded me curiously, like somehow I just wasn’t understanding her question. Before she could voice this, I jumped in to clarify. “It’s been fifteen years since I’ve been in college.”
I paused, waiting for her reaction. She didn’t disappoint, either, but we did end up going back and forth a few times until — shy of pulling out my ID — I had assured her it was the truth.
I never did catch her name, but thank you, lovely-woman-from-Nebraska, for making my day.