Planes, phones and real conversation

Print Article

I just got back from a few days in Minnesota and, as you’re reading this, I’m in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for my niece’s wedding. Then a week after that we hop on a plane again to head to our daughter’s wedding in Alaska.

All of this time in airports and on planes has led me to contemplate air travel and all of its idiosyncrasies. There seem to be certain rules as we’re herded like cattle to those far-flung gates. If you’re flying to places like Fargo, North Dakota, and Rhinelander, Wisconsin, your gate is always miles away.

One of those unspoken rules as we navigate air travel is that passengers generally don’t strike up conversations with one another. You might make eye contact to get to your seat, but then you pretend to be oblivious to whatever person is sitting next to you. On my flight to Fargo I was pleasantly surprised when a guy in his early 30s went out of his way to strike up a conversation with me.

This is kind of unusual, I thought, but I obliged his questions, and began quizzing him about why he was headed to North Dakota. Turns out we were both going to see our mothers and families. This red-headed North Dakota native (I never got even a first name) said he did contracted information technology work all over the country for big hospital systems. Yet I noticed he was using an old-fashioned flip phone, a dinosaur in the cellphone world.

“I gotta ask,” I told him. “What’s an IT guy doing with a flip phone?”

He said his more modern phone broke a few months ago and he was still using his flip phone because he kind of liked not being drawn to his phone 24/7. We both lamented a society that now has nearly everyone glued to their phones even in settings where they’re supposed to be interacting with family and friends.

As our conversation unfolded somewhere over South Dakota, he told me he was renovating an older home in Phoenix and had a few photos on his old phone to show me.

“It looks kind of Frank Lloyd Wright-ish,” I said.

Then I learned his home was designed by a guy who had worked under the famous architect. Of course I shared the information about Whitefish losing its beloved Frank Lloyd Wright Building to a developer who tore it down to build a massive mixed-use building.

We talked about all kinds of things and the time flew by. As we landed in Fargo, we wished each other well and went our separate ways. I had a good feeling, like I had done something more productive with my flying time.

Conversation should be normal and not so unexpected. But the sad truth is that it has all but dried up in this digital age, particularly among younger generations. For all of our digital connectedness, there’s nothing like talking face to face.

Features Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Lynnette Hintze: As I See It

A quandary of biblical proportions

March 31, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Forty years ago I was at an estate auction in Moorhead, Minnesota, buying an antique oak dresser when I spotted a large, leather-bound Bible for sale. This was no ordinary Bible. The old, sculpted l...

Comments

Read More

Herding calls part of my milk-maid heritage

March 17, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake I came across a YouTube video last week about “kulning,” the ancient Swedish herding calls used by women centuries ago to call the cattle back home to the farm in the evenings. The melodic calls had...

Comments

Read More

Watching old movies: ‘There Will Be Blood’

March 03, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake I know I’m stating the obvious, but it’s been an agonizingly long winter. In our 28 years of living in the Flathead, I can’t remember another winter when our long, rural driveway has been made impass...

Comments

Read More

A lifetime of bad hair days

February 17, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake I routinely get Facebook posts from an entertainment website called “Grew Up in the ’70s and ’80s,” and had to laugh when it recently declared this observation about the telltale 1980s hairstyles mos...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X