Sunday, July 17, 2005

Building front porches on the tarmack


Today was a long day: St. Louis to Newark, Newark to Geneva, and Geneva to Leysin.

Total travel time: 14 hours.

Ouch.

This morning I dragged myself onto the plane, already tired from a restless night. (I always get that way before giving a speech.) All I wanted to do was find my seat, turn on my Ipod and pass out for the next 8 hours.

Unfortunately my master plan was foiled by Mother Nature who decided to bring a dangerous storm system through the Newark area and delay takeoff for 55 minutes.

Fantastic.

A woman passed me in the aisle and teased, “Hey Scott, you can take off your nametag now.”

You know, it’s amazing: after five years, I still get this comment about twice a day. And after five years, I still think it’s pretty funny! But that’s what happens when your life is one giant, ongoing sociological experiment.

“Actually I always wear it to make people friendlier,” I replied.

“Oh really?” she said as she plopped down in the row behind me, “Well ok then!”

A few minutes later we all resigned to the fact that we weren't going anywhere, so I decided to strike up a conversation with everyone in my seating area. I met three incredible people:

1) Jessica - a brilliant painter who shared some of her artwork from her portfolio
2) Cristele - a world famous flute player who gave copies of her CD's to everyone
3) John - a businessman and world traveler who'd recently moved to St. Louis

We had a blast! Everyone shared stories about their work, families and passions. (I passed out nametags.) And the hour went by like a blink. Now, the cool thing is, when the pilot gave us the bad news about the delay, we could have complained. We could have hidden our faces in our books and music. But instead, we decided to connect with each other. And it was the perfect way to start off a day that we all KNEW was going to be a long one.

You see, encounters like these usually have the tendency to create memorable experiences. And that’s what building front porches is all about: breaking the silence, discovering the common point of interest and having a conversation with someone that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What's your best "flight friend" story?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com