Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Erin, Aaron and Me

On a pleasant spring day, about a year ago, I reluctantly boarded Icelandair's flight FL653, Keflavík to MSP, thus ending a fantastic vacation in Iceland. Finding my seat, I was greeted by two young people in the seats in the row next to it and a young woman on the aisle smiled impishly and said: “We’ve been waiting for you.

In that second I knew that this was not going to be a flight spent in stony silence, trying to ignore my row-mates. They let me sit down and after I got got settled we exchanged introductions. Erin, the young woman, and Aaron, the young man, had flown in from Paris that morning and had evidently already started their trip on a positive note.

We spoke of our adventures and, as we took off, we were already beginning to explore each others’ psyches with almost a complete naturalness and no sense of inhibition. Our coming-of-age stories had many things in common: our recreational psychedelic drug of choice was the same (note: it has been MANY years since I indulged in that kind of activity!), then came the Dead Poet's Society recital. Erin started first, with a tender reading from Wordsworth, Then Aaron, with a few rocky patches, did some very nice Longfellow. Erin mentioned something by Lewis Carroll that she liked but did not have committed to memory. As it so happens, the ONLY poem I have ever memorized is The Jabberwocky, which I reeled off, to the amazement and delight of my fellow-travelers. The congenial Icelandic flight attendants came by to see if we wanted to purchase any duty-free goods. I opted for the Icelandic “Brennivín” (a caraway flavored schnapps which is neither as bad as people say it is nor as good as people say it is. But no hákarl to go with! That, along with some French Liquor that Aaron had picked up in Paris, gave a new dimension to the conversation. I noticed a book peeking out of Aaron’s bag: Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television by Jerry Mander. One of my all time favorites, I hadn’t seen a copy in 25 years! The coincidences kept piling up. After what seemed like a couple of hours (it was really five and a half) we landed at the Lindberg terminal in Minnesota, the end of the line. We split up in customs and then went back to regular routines, enriched, refreshed with new insights into our lives.

By Professor Batty


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