Winter, Christmas coming. a last minute business trip from Monterey to LA and then a change of planes, LA to DC, Dulles, for only one day. It was nineteen eighty-something, and the call from the boys back east was curt, and nasty. NO arguments, just get here. Last minute booking, I ended up with just carry on and a ticket, an boarded the United flight. My ticket showed a middle seat but the gate agent changed that to First Class, the Shakespeare Seat, 2B (or not to be). I was the only person in the forward cabin, and watched a steady stream of coach fliers pass by with a look of envy ot disgust or both on their haggard faces. I had never had a chance to practice the F.C. stare that real payers for the seat have.
The door was closing and I was there alone in the relative calm of the four row space of First on the plane, A bored flight attendant had the mic to her lips ready to give the cross-check word. Suddenly the door stopped and was opened again.
In walked Clint Eastwood, in the flesh, and of course, he sat down in seat 2A, nest to me, for some reason. I was looking ahead when he said, as if he were Harry Callahan and in sotto voce, "don't talk to me!" The flight attendant also heard that; she never approached us, even to check on our seat belts or drink orders, as if we had one.
The flight attendant sat down in her jump seat and studied her fingernails for takeoff. The flight lasted just over an hour. We taxied to a stop, and Clint stood, and walked past me to the door, turned And said, "thanks for not talking to me!" and left the plane. I got up, hauled my coat and bag and walked into the terminal thanking my luckiest star that he had not pulled a Magnum on me during the flight, asking me if I felt lucky!
Several years later I ran into him at the Pebble Beach's Beach and Tennis Club. We shook hands and he said, "you know, I was just kiddin' right?"
I resisted trying out a Dirty Harry retort, (Go ahead, make my day, or whatever) but I was glad he remembered our chance encounter at Monterey airport that winter day. I've seen him age (yeah, like I have not!) around town, met his former wife, eaten at Mission Ranch and seen him there, and he's never repeated that "don't talk to me" line.
I got it the first time, thanks.