You most likely recognize Maulik Pancholy from 30 Rock or Weeds… when I met him, I didn’t recognize him at all.

You know the term “single serving friend”; these are the people we meet while in line for a prescription at the drug store, a coffee at Starbucks, and thanks to Fight Club, the people we end up meeting when we board or take a seat on an airplane. When I was boarding the plane for my first trip to New York City, I was filled with complete and utter excitement. I had so many expectations, yet, at the same time, I didn’t know what to expect at all. It seems the more excited I get about something, the more the universe likes to dangle it a little further away from me- like a carrot on a stick eluding a horse. So was the case with my layover in Dallas Fort Worth.

I almost always come to expect delays when it comes to traveling, heck, when my parents are involved I always come to anticipate a natural disaster. When it was announced that my connecting flight wouldn’t be taking off for an additional hour and thirty minutes, I started doing what I do best… making small talk. I know what you’re thinking “why not listen to your iPod to pass the time?” To be honest, listening to my iPod is sometimes exhausting; I almost always dance to the music in my head and find myself making the occasional choreographed move in public. There’s nothing quite like a grown man making jazz hands in an airport…

When my plane was finally about to board, I found myself standing next to a young, attractive Indian man who made a comment about how he pleased we were boarding.

“This always happens to me” I said turning toward the man… “are you from Albuquerque?”

“No” he replied smiling “I’m from New York… what about you?”

“I’m just south of Albuquerque.”

“Very cool, and what’s taking you to New York City?”

Eager, I told him that I was auditioning for music school, that I wanted to be an opera singer and probably overwhelmed him with a few other unnecessary details.

“That’s awesome” replied my single-serving friend.

Realizing I was squeezing the life out of the conversation, I changed the topic as we began to board “Where you visiting family in Albuquerque?”

“Oh no, I was filming a movie.”

“Very cool.” Due to new tax laws in New Mexico, the state has become a popular site for movie studios of all sizes and pedigree to shoot in. This fact caused me to believe initially that the gentleman may have been part of a string of low-budget horror movies shot near and in my hometown. “What movie? I’ll try and catch it.”

“Oh, it’s called Love Ranchhe said excitedly “Helen Mirren is starring in it.”

“Awesome” I replied “are you in anything else I might know you from?”

“Oh I don’t know” he said modestly “I have recurring roles on Weeds and 30 Rock if you watch either of those shows.”

“I’m sorry, I haven’t seen much TV lately”. It was an honest reply, as I had been so preoccupied with trying to leave New Mexico I didn’t have a clue about what was popular in pop culture at the time.

“Oh it’s cool” he said taking his seat “nice meeting you… have a nice flight!”

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