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March 05, 2006

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When I was sixteen I took a train across Ontario to visit my friend from theatre camp. Even though the train was practically empty, this skinny long-haired hoser sat down next to me and cracked open a beer. Turns out he had just been released from Kingston Penitentiary and wanted to tell me how the sun looks different when one exits prison.

I loved every minute of it and did what any angsty teen would do - wrote poetry about it. I miss being sixteen.

We all say that we travel for new experiences, but technology has allowed all of us to take our "comfort bubble" with us. We bring our music from home to listen to on our noise-cancelling headphone as we travel, read our hometown newspaper online wherever we are, stream our favorite (home) radio station, etc. The received wisdom is that the person sitting next to you on the plane is a jerk who will talk your ear off for five hours or try to convert you, but just as often it turns out to be a delightful, interesting individual who welcomes the opportunity for a little chat. Hey, talk off the headphones, read the local paper, turn into the local radio station, and try saying hello to your fellow travellers.

Like mother, like son.
I rarely talk to anyone on a plane.
Leaving NY last year, we were stuck on the ground for several hours due to weather, and of course I didn't have a cell phone and was too embarassed to ask anyone to make a long distant call for me. Not only did the fellow sitting next to me make several long distant calls for me, he had gone to high school (U.City of course) with my sister and had been living in Atlanta for 50 years.We had lots of conversation about U. City.

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