Saturday, September 19, 2015

On a plane

On my most recent flight, the middle seat was occupied by a youngish man, about 5'6" and about 140 pounds.  The perfect middle seat passenger, small enough to fit.  Shortly after he was seated, he swallowed two pills, texted his girlfriend that the Xanax were kicking in and he would meet her at the airport in 5 hours.  He slept most of the way across country.  Needless to say - not a lot of conversation with him.

On the way out to Portland a young engineer from India via New York was in the middle seat.  He was headed to Portland on a moments notice to do a presentation - try to close the sale on a multi-million dollar job.  His field was electronic document management.  Interesting conversation, his company labels electronic files with an expiration or deletion date.  When the date is approaching, the staff receives a message asking if they need to keep the file, if not it disappears on the end date.  We are reaching a point with electronic documents where we need this. The last time I looked, I had created over 25,000 electronic documents in the past 7 years.  Do I really need all of the documents?  Time to clean out the electronic file cabinets.

Let me think, I sat next to a US Senator one morning, I talked with him for about half an hour before it dawned on me who he was (I lived in the state he represented.)  He was not nearly as daft in person, as he was in the media.  I sat next to a guy one time who specialized in firing executives.  He seemed to really like his work.  He said, I am doing the employee and the company a favor by helping them end a relationship that is not working for either of them - he did say, "you never want to see me waiting in your office when you arrive in the morning." I was sitting next to a car flipper when the plane backed into another airplane, and pulled forward and backed into it again.  He was headed to Ohio to buy a 65 Mustang.  I spent one flight talking about on-demand book printing, the technology exists - adaptation is slow. I spent an hour talking with the head of children's programing for PBS one afternoon.

Over the years I have set next to a lot of interesting people on airline flights.  I can think of more interesting one's than I can one's I couldn't wait to get away from.  Then there are the small, quiet ones, I can sleep next to them.


  1. yeah, but have you ever been seated next to someone you just SWOON over?

  2. I suspect you have posted on the topic some time (I would love to read/find it) viz. airplane travel companions. I am the type who sits in the seat hoping the person coming towards me is not a seat hog, unshowered, on the phone, with a child - but the worse is 'a talker'. I am finding less and less of the latter, probably because more people are tuned into their tech toys rather than interaction with their seat mates. for once I am glad Mr. Forbes and Mr. Gates made such devices.