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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Friday, March 28, 2014


"Try to start a conversation at a cocktail party about how much you love your old-line carrier and see how long it takes someone to throw a canapĂ© at you."           - Fred Reid

My fellow frequent flyer...
There are times when the dichotomy between passengers on a flight amuse me.

To my left, in the last row of the cabin, sits a little boy of perhaps seven or eight. He's already a seasoned traveler, he tells me in an enthusiastic voice, having flown, by himself, some eight times. His parents, presumably divorced, live in Long Beach and Seattle, respectively. Or at least those are the airports at either end of his journey. He's what in Hollywood they would call "precocious" on a casting call sheet, though in a sweet way. Very assured of himself, he will opine on any topic (asking what game I was playing on my iPad, he labeled Scrabble boring!) (The exclamation point was his.) He's well behaved and a rather nice young boy, though prone to trying to get attention by singing along to music on his headset a bit louder than warranted, and speaking in a tone of voice best reserved for an outdoor playground under a busy flight path. And scrambling across the seats when it comes time to visit the lavatory.

To my right, across the aisle, is a younger woman, dressed in a pink hoodie, who seems disinclined to socialize. Head down on the tray table she's giving off the strong vibe of being seriously hungover and just wishing the world would go away. Not unpleasant, just distinctly not wanting to be awake at the moment.

Next to her are two women who, from appearances, are mother and daughter. Both adult. Very nice, they are spending their time watching Food Network (we're on JetBlue) and trading comments every once in a while. Pink Hoodie couldn't care less.

In the row directly in front of me is a woman with two preteen girls, who are delighting in talking to each other and Mom. A very active conversation, without being distracting to other passengers, the two girls are clearly having an adventure. There's a little bit of voyage narration from the one next to the window, keeping her seat,ate apprised of the various spots and sights she is viewing out of the porthole. 

"I can see clouds. I am looking down on the tops of clouds."

"There's a big mountain down there. Look!"

"We're over California now!" The middle seat sounds impressed. "No, I saw it on the map on the tv screen."

And so on. The girl in the middle seat seems to be having some issues with the tv screen not being a touch-screen. Ah, youth. What would they make of the Commodore 64, I think to myself.
Pink, sleeping
Across the aisle from them is a single woman who is doing a good job of sitting back and watching HGTV while munching on pretzels and a 7Up. A dad and his son sit in the middle and window seats. Dad us focused on ESPN while the kid is tuned to the Cartoon Network.There are three attendants on board, and I get to know two of them pretty well. One is quite young and I think relatively new. I overheard her ask the more seasoned attendant if she could make an announcement. The more seasoned is a very pleasant woman with the appropriate name "Song". She and I trade a few niceties during the flight, and she clearly understands that a single male business traveler is not the best seat partner for a kid traveling solo, but we're making the best of it. The boy is really a nice kid, if enthusiastic.Okay...the kids just interrupted me..."look, look look!" I looked over in time to see a final scene from an animated tv show clearly meant for adults. Two characters, animated, partially undressed and having a good time, were rolling ardorously across the table at some sort of dinner event. The people at the primary table were doing their best to ignore it, but the kid next to me excitedly told me about how they were rolling around and almost naked. He described in a distinctly non-golf voice. Naked! Exclamation point!
The ever-popular lavatory

Okay, I'm not a parent and normally these things don't bug me, but what do you tell a kid who just watched that sort of thing? Really. I want to know!

The flight is beginning to wind down. According to the flight map we're approaching the Los Angeles metro area, though still at 35000 feet at moving at some 600 miles per hour. The flight's pretty choppy, but this doesn't prevent a handful of people from making that last-minute haj to the lavatories.

A sudden dip and change in the engines indicates we're beginning our descent into Long Beach.

Just another day at the office, I guess. Next week I'm starting an extended vacation and, as promised, you can follow along here and on Twitter. Headed to the Land Down Under...where men ..... And women......

Or so I've heard.

Ah. Seat belt light is on, and it's time to make ready for landing. Catch you on the flip side.

The Friendly Skies

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