“Where have I seen him before?” I thought to myself as I made my way down the aisle of the small airplane resting on the tarmac of the small Long Beach airport. “Sorry, so sorry” I mumbled out loud with each whack my large backpack made with each person’s face and arms as I fumbled past each row. Out of a sea of faces, his was the one I saw. An elderly man, with his rimless framed glasses on reading a newspaper; he wore a thin striped bluish/white shirt, with his grayish hair brushed back, slightly long for a man his age. Yet- it still bothered me. Why did he look so familiar?
“Seat B30… aha, found my seat!” I sat between the blonde businessmen somewhere around his thirties, despite the late hour he wore a tan colored business suit for a five hour red-eye flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That can’t be comfortable. Next to me was my best friend Terrill, who was going to Semester at Sea with me as my interpreter. Still I was wracking my brain, trying to figure out who the mystery man was. I was consumed with the thought, thinking of every possible scenario; perhaps I had seen him earlier at the airport? Was it someone from my hometown? It wasn’t until halfway through my flight that it finally hit me; it was DAVY JONES, the lead singer of the Monkees.
“YES!” I signed out to my friend Terrill, “OMG, it’s him!” to which she looked at me with a slightly concerned yet puzzled look on her face.
“What are you talking about Cherie?” she signed back to me.
I told her who it was; “Davy Jones!” she stared at me blankly and said “Who?”
“WHO?! You did not just say that, are you kidding me?! It is DAVY JONES! For crying out loud, you know the famous song right?”
“Oh Come on! You know, it goes like this..Oh Cheer up sleepy Jean, you don’t know what it means to be a daydream believer..”
No response, she looked at me as if I was crazy. Frantically trying to think of something that she might recognize, and then I mentioned that he was in the Brady Bunch. “Remember when he was on the Brady Bunch? He was singing, and then Marcia had this huge crush on him?” remember? “Nope” she told me. It was no use trying to make her remember who he was- after all the height of his fame was more than twenty years before her and I was born. The only reason I even knew of the man was watching the reruns of The Brady Bunch on Nick at Nite when I was a kid. Then at high school I had an interpreter, Mr. Bill, who would recount wild stories from when he toured with the Monkees as a guest drummer back in the 70’s. After trying to explain to her the story of the Monkees, and their songs I gave up telling her “Never mind” Exasperated and slightly disappointed, I then realized that I was the only one who cared that the former singer of the Monkees was on my flight. The Monkees were a thing of the past.
Wedged between two heavy sleepers, the man beside me was sprawled out in his seat, with his leg out in the aisle. His arm took up both of the armrests, leaving hardly any room for me to rest in my seat. I was tired and uncomfortable but couldn’t sleep because I kept my eye out for another glimpse of the singer towards the front of the plane. But all I could see were the flicker of the TV screen on the seats in front of me and several lights shining over head in some of the seats ahead. After several hours of tossing and turning in my seat, I finally fell asleep. Hunched over on the fold out table from the seat in front of me with my head resting on the impromptu pillow that was my jacket, I woke up two hours later with a painful crick in my neck. On the route map in the TV screen in front of me showed little airplane icon itching towards Orlando, not Ft. Lauderdale…. “What the blergh?” I thought to myself as I slowly came to the realization that we were being rerouted.
“Oh Cheer up sleepy jean”… indeed… no truer words have ever been said.