Meeting by Surprise

Meeting by Surprise

In 2002 I had to go to New York for business, and my secretary arranged the flight. It turned out to be flight KL6071 with KLM from AMS (Amsterdam airport, also known as Schiphol) to JFK (John F Kennedy airport of New York). The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has defined three letter acronyms for all its airport members in the world.

It was not my first flight, so I was familiar with the preparation and the check-in procedure, arriving at the airport 90 minutes before departure time. I had booked an aisle seat to give me comfortable leg space during the six hours flight. However, this was not to be realized, fortunately.

Entering the plane, I soon found the row of three chairs that housed my seat. From the middle seat, a man stood up and started to talk to me. He requested my aisle seat since he was sick and needed easy access to the toilet. Hesitantly I agreed to change places with him, not knowing how my legs would take this loss of space.


I installed myself in the middle seat and decided to do some reading, before taking some sleep that would help me to bridge the extra six hours that this day would give me, due to the time zone difference between Amsterdam and New York.


I remember the title of my book, “The impact of information technology on society”, quite relevant for my job at that time: enterprise architect in information technology. My job was essentially to define the overall picture or blueprint for an organization of its business information systems and to propose how information technology could offer solutions to business problems. After some 30 minutes of reading, I decided to take a break, and I put the book on my small table that was fastened to the back of the seat in front of me, with the title of the book clearly visible.


As it happened, the passenger in the window seat, left of me, started to talk to me about the book. It turned out to be a beautiful be it fragile woman of about 30  years young; I was 47 years at that time, single, and in good physical shape with good looks. She was clever and really interested in my book and made several interesting remarks. Soon, we were discussing our jobs and lives. We enjoyed our conversation and I realized that this was an accidental date.


We forgot about space, time and sleep, and talked with an eagerness that took us both by surprise. She was Polish and worked at Canal Plus, a TV broadcasting company. We had very common interests and were like minded, showing an openess and honesty towards the other, where humor had a chance despite our culture and language differences. But then, we were both international and well versed in the English language. A good dating experience is primarily based on a common language, good looks and chemistry coming as a natural second.


She was on a 6 week vacation to Milwaukee, whereas I had a 5 days business conference in New York. We had no difficulty bridging the 6 hours of the flight with our conversation; it seemed we had much to talk about. Being both single added much to the experience and we could have talked for days, I think. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship, a sentence from the Casablanca movie, the final words, as spoken by Humphrey Bogart.


After landing at JFK, we continued our conversation in the bus that took us to the subway station. We both had hotels in Manhattan, the center of business activity in New York. Unfortunately, we had different hotels. Still, we did not separate yet and we continued our journey on the subway. Funny enough, a man with a violin entered our cabin, and he began to play a classical piece of music  Much to our amazement, next,  a woman entered our cabin from the other end, also carrying a violin and she joined the other player in this music. It was indeed a wonderful piece of music, music for lovers it seemed. They told us that they played the first part of a Vivaldo Cello Concerto in D minor.


Much too soon, my girl reached her subway station destination and she had to get off the metro. We embraced heartily and exchanged real kisses. She agreed to call me the next day and to continue our date. I felt thrilled with much joy and our adventure was in my mind the whole rest of the day. With eagerness I awaited her telephone call the next morning. But alas, I had probably given her the wrong number. She did not call and I never heard from her again.


Afterwards, when I had returned to Holland, it took me much time to find out about the Cello Concerto in D minor. I learned that Vivaldi had written many Cello Concerto’s. I purchased all 4 CD’s of them. And every time that I listen to this music, it reminds me of this wonderful accidental date. 

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Friday, 23 February 2018

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