Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

So, I’m on the flight back from Denver to Los Angeles, and this girl sits down beside me, and I can tell right away she’s chatty and annoying.  I don’t know how, I just have a sixth sense that tells me this about her right after she turns to me and says “Hi, I’m going to Los Angeles.  Are you?”

She’s one of those people who looks people right in the eye even when they’re in a crowd, the kind of person who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of “social barriers” or “personal space.”

Actually, I quickly determined there were probably lots of terms she didn’t know the meaning of, for it would became clear over the course of the flight that she was the dumbest person I’ve had to sit beside in years.

She’s young, teens or early twenties, big boned, average in many ways, dressed in an “alternative” but not outlandish way.  I know, I can simply tell, that she never misses an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and is a big fan of Smashmouth.

She pulls the headphones out of the seat in front of her, then struggles for about 4 minutes trying to plug them into the seat.  You see, there’s _two_ jacks, and _two_ prongs, and finding the actual holes, and then trying to line them up with the pointy-outy things on the end of the cord, well you can see that it’s all quite complicated, yes?

Then, listening, she suddenly sits upright as I hear (yes, the volume’s a little loud) the chatter from the cockpit come over the headphones.  The pilots say a few things back and forth to the tower, as she sits, rapt, cocker-spaniel-like, head cocked.

When there’s a break in the conversation, she takes the headphones off, turns to me and says, “Here, listen to this!” I take the headphones and hold one half up to my head.  I wait for the pilots to do their thing again, but nothing happens.  I know it’s the pilots talking, I know it’s not that interesting, especially if you don’t happen to speak pilotese, and besides which, the crew must all have gone to the head because there’s nothing but complete silence on the channel as I wait and wait and wait for something.

Finally, I fake it.  “Oh, yeah, the cockpit,” I say.  “Pretty interesting.”  I take the headphone off my ear.

“Do you think they know we can hear them?” she says.

“Gosh, I’m not sure,” I say.  Just then, the pilots do start jabbering again, and we can both clearly hear the noise.  I look up guiltily, but she hasn’t noticed my obvious deception.

I decide I don’t want to interact with her for the next two hours, that I want to write in my journal.  So I put on my own headphones, but no music (it sometimes disturbs my writing), and sit in quiet.  For about 80 seconds.

Then the girl turns to the guy across the aisle, and says, “Hey, did you know you can hear the pilots talking on these headphones?”

The guy says “Yeah, I know that, but they don’t say nothing really.”

“Really?” she says.

“Yeah, I fly a whole lot,” the guy says.

For the next two hours, these two speak, in exceedingly loud voices that carry for rows, about a range of topics.  I tried to write another entry in my journal, but their conversation was so interesting, so stupid, so, for lack of a better word, whacked, that I eventually ended up transcribing large chunks of it.  The following quotes are all completely true, but the headings are mine alone.)


Girl: “I’m so confused. So it’s 7:30 now, but we left the gate at 7:55?”
Guy: “Yeah, even I don’t understand it and I’m the one what told you.”
Guy: “Like, say if you’re going to Europe and you cross the International Date Line, you can land the day before you left.”
Girl: “Wow, so you get like a while extra day of vacation.”


Girl: “At the end of the year, I was all ‘Look, you can flunk me and I’ll be here all next year,’ and I got an ‘A.’ “


Guy: “I like Slayer and opera both—that’s purdy weird, huh?”

Guy: “I was 17, and then one day I woke up and I’m all, I gotta start taking care of myself.”

[I should add that these next few phrases were spoke simultaneously, like two conversations going on at once between them.]
Girl: “Seventh grade, it was weird, you know.  One of my friends got pregnant, and one of my other friends almost got pregnant.”

Guy: “I was all that.  Pot addict, speed addict, it was a really weird experience.”
Girl: “And then eighth grade, it was like, it was so messed up, that I haven’t done any of that stuff since then.”
Guy: “With snap, it wasn’t like you wanted it at all, but you just had to have it ... think about it, you either quit now, or you don’t.” (Note: I have no idea what snap is. I mean, is he talking about the card game?)
Girl: “Her mom came into her room and her head was under her bed and her whole body was just sticking out, laying there.”

Guy: “You know what, as far as, I was 25 years old, as far as, I just seen enough. I was done.”

Guy: “As far as the beer buzz goes, it’s not a bad thing. You just wake up with a hangover, that’s all.”

Guy: “Trust me, you’re going to get older. It ain’t happy. It ain’t nice. It ain’t good. As soon as you hit 30, that’s it. I can’t remember anything.”

Guy: “If I’m lucky, I get 8 days a month to go out and have fun.”
Guy: “I work for the techi, tech, tehcnical, techno, tech, tech, technoco, Technicolor, there we go! Six, sometimes seven days a week.”

Guy: “The girl had sleeves covered with puke up to here.” (Note: I didn’t see the point where Guy indicated, but I think it doesn’t make a difference to the grossness.)
Girl: “Anal leakage.” (Note: I didn’t hear the rest of the sentence, but again, I think there’s no net effect on the grossness.)

Girl: “You know what I hate about email? When someone does the capital thing then the lowercase thing. That bugs me.”

Girl: “So is it your mom or your sister? I’m all confused?”
Girl: “How often is her birthday? Every year?”
Guy: “I don’t have any kids of my own.  I don’t have time.”

Girl: “When I was in Grade 3, my friends and I would get the biggest sticks we could find and just start hitting each other.”
Guy: “Why?”
Girl: “I don’t know why.”

I just have to add that at one point in the conversation, the girl started painting her nails with nail polish. During turbulence, in fact.  The smell stuck with the plane until we landed.

These were two of the stupidest people I’d ever heard.  In a village of idiots, these two would have been king and queen, if, you know, if villages had kings.


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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