Saying Too Much

Airplane-passengers-001He was a trim, attractive man, neatly dressed, with a suntan that complemented a full head of carefully groomed white hair. He took the aisle seat a row ahead of me on the Dallas to Denver flight. With a pleasant smile he greeted the young woman seated across the aisle with her small daughter. “Looks like a good day for a flight. Not a cloud in the sky.”
          “We’re going to Denver,” the little girl announced.
          “Heading home?” he asked.
          “No, just going for a long weekend with my sister,” the mother said.
          “You live in the Dallas area?”
          She named a particular upscale community.
          “My wife and I looked at a home there a few years ago,” the man said.  “Very attractive neighborhood. We ended up buying further west. But, we have some good friends in your community.” He offered a name and asked if she knew the couple.
          She did not.
          “Stan’s house is straight through the gates and around the curve. You live back that way?”
          “No,” she said, “we’re on the first street to the left.”
          “Lived there long?”
          “Four years. We really like the neighborhood.”
          “Stan and Martha feel the same way.” He casually introduced himself.
          The young woman gave her name just before the pilot announced we were ready for takeoff.
          During the flight the man returned again and again to bits of friendly conversation with the woman and her daughter. By the time we descended into Denver, this stranger knew her husband’s job and where he worked, the name of the school where she taught fourth grade, the date when teachers returned from summer break, and a variety of details about her family’s lifestyle.
          I didn’t think much about these revelations, however, until the woman volunteered that the family was going on a ten day Florida vacation starting the first of August. “I have so much to do before we leave,” she said. “We’re having the inside of the house painted while we are away.”
          “I hope you have someone staying in your house to keep an eye on things,” the man said in a concerned tone.
          She calmly stated they didn’t feel that was necessary.
          I was stunned. The woman had just offered an open invitation to this stranger, and to any interested person seated nearby, that her home would be available for burglary during the first weeks of August.


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