The Soapbox: Life in the sky

Justin Crann
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I can never sleep before a flight. It’s not for fear of flying — I actually enjoy being in the air a great deal.

Justin Crann

In a very general sense, it’s often just about an inability to calm myself down.

I get excited.

I’m still relatively new to flying. I only took my first trip by plane when I moved to Moose Jaw, almost a year and a half ago. Since then, I have flown seven times. I’ve enjoyed every flight.

There are a lot of pleasures in flying.

Seeing the places you live — and how small they actually are — would be one of those joys. Getting to watch a sunrise or sunset from an entirely new perspective would be another.

In broad strokes, those existential experiences are always worth the price of admission.

But as with every aspect of my life, the best part is always meeting new people.

On my second flight, I met a business woman who was more than happy to swap out her window seat for my aisle seat so a still-fresh-to-flying man could enjoy the sights.

She and I also enjoyed a lengthy conversation about where we were headed (Regina, from Winnipeg), where we were from, and our jobs. It was all small talk — but interesting, nonetheless.

On my third flight — en route to my hometown of Toronto from my current home in Moose Jaw (by way of Regina) — I met another pair of Moose Javians (engineers) and we talked at length about the city’s council and its ailing infrastructure.

It’s remarkable, the sort of perspective you can glean from casual conversation.

Learning about other people and the way in which they live can be endlessly fascinating, and can change the way you think about your own life.

That’s one of several reasons I became a journalist: people are compelling, and telling their stories (after listening to the way they are told) is a great way to earn a living while seeing the world from new outlooks.

It never ceases to amaze me how willing people are to chat, if one only takes the initiative to strike up a conversation.

There needn’t been any agenda beyond passing time and getting to know the person in the seat next door.

I’ve taken a device or a book on every flight to pass the time.

I’ve only ever needed to resort to actually using the gadget or reading once.

The act of being social is a vital one for our species. Its benefits are many, and the associated costs are negligible.

While not everybody is willing to socialize, flying is one of the rare opportunities in which every person might actually have hours of time to spare.

I can’t think of a better or more productive way to while away that time than learning something interesting from someone new.

Justin Crann can be reached at (306) 691-1265

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, Toronto

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