United Airlines flight 103 from San Francisco to Chicago

How can past personal air travel experiences best be described?

I’ve generally had a few drinks by the time I board. I sit, pull down my cap to cover my eyes, and pass out–deliberately ignoring everything and everyone around me.


Because I hate making awkward small talk, as well as sitting in such close proximity to strangers. Especially smelly ones.

How was this air travel experience different?

I sat next to this talkative young man who turned out to be one of the coolest and most interesting individuals I’ve ever met in my life. Seriously.

What made this particular young man so cool?

His stimulating and unique perspective.

What was the end result of this fortunate seating arrangement?

Together we were: film, book and music critics; curious bio nerds; computer geeks; philosophers; political scientists; doctors and composers.

What were some of the topics of conversation?

*Cougars with young men vs older men with young women

*Pregnancy (more specifically, the fetus as a parasite, testing for incurable diseases)

*Fox News (scary)


*Cadavers;selling organs vs donating them

*Safe words

*Time travel and the theory of relativity

*Literature (sci-fi as an underappreciated genre)

*The Beat Generation

*Iowa and Gay Marriage

*Stiff: a book about cadavers

*The molecular structure of synthetic sugar

*”Open Source” word program vs Microsoft Word

*Matt Santos

*Garage Band


*Umphreys McGee (band)

*Our moral compasses

Which of the above topics resonated the most with you?

Time travel and the theory of relativity. Using our plane as an example, he explained how currently there is  NO instrument able to prove that we (in the airplane) are in fact moving forward away from the earth, as opposed to the earth moving backward away from our plane. So really it’s all about perspective.

Your attire/general appearance/concern for personal hygiene generally imitates that of a homeless person during air travel. Was this true of this particular trip?


Did the young man seem to mind, seeing as he was sitting next to you?

Apparently not.

You realize this makes you a hypocrite, as earlier in this post you said you hate sitting next to smelly people on planes.


Your favorite highlight  from the 4.5 hours you spent with him?

When he introduced me to the world of Garage Band on his Macbook. After showing me how the software worked, we combined our genius and creative juices, thus giving birth to a new song. Then, he proceeded to show me how to use the program to play the piano using the keyboard. And, he serenaded me.

Do you remember the young man’s name?

His name was Areo, and he was a 25 yr old med student going to school at…?? He did his undergrad at UC Santa Barbara, double majoring in Economics and Biology. He is originally from Chicago.

A particular quote stemming from his lips for which you feel an affinity:

1. “You are dark by default”

2. “We’re in our own little world here”

Did you tell him you were going to feature this extraordinary encounter on your blog?

Indeed. I even gave him the link.

Do you agree that it is slightly odd to post an interview with yourself on your own blog, using completely self-generated questions? And, those who read your blog will probably share this sentiment and possibly pass judgement on you?

word and word.

Dear Areo:

Thank you for being so cool. It’s not everyday that I have such a memorable, enjoyable experience with a perfect stranger. We were in fact, in our own little world as you pointed out. I actually forgot that I was even on a plane. And, I have a whole new standard for people sitting next to me during future excursions; if they aren’t young, handsome med students that can discuss all the above listed topics with such eloquence and objectivity, then I just won’t speak to them. You’ve spoiled me.

Good luck with Med school and all your future endeavors. If you are ever in the New York area, hit me up.


P.S. I never received the song that we made!!! Maybe the file was too big for email? Can you try again? I really want it…


One Response to “United Airlines flight 103 from San Francisco to Chicago”

  1. Word and Word! Nicely done…..

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