United Airlines plunked me in seat 15A on this week’s 2-hour flight from Colorado to Texas. And in seat 15B plunked a likewise middle-aged person with a taste for adventure.

We chatted the entire flight.

I almost always begin such conversations with a simple dichotomous inquiry: “Business or Pleasure?”

This time, the portly man wearing a royal blue polo shirt got there first; “Fun or Business?” he asked.

I was astounded.

Not only because I had never been asked my own question, but because I didn’t immediately have an answer.

I’d been out to see a dear friend, wear out my hip joints dancing through three Wide Spread Panic concerts at his invitation, and also cruise the Western Slope ag real estate market for investment opportunities.

“Both,” I finally replied, explaining that usually I ask that question. And so then I did.

He was on a business trip to Florida to confer about the problem of space junk, its dangers, and potential solutions. He works for the Air Force and pointed out the building where he works as we took off.


By the time the flight was over, I think I had convinced him he needs to float the Grand Canyon. And he had shared a very personal story about motion-sensor cameras.

I don’t remember how we got on the topic, but he was soon recounting how he set up a camera to take pictures of bears he suspected were frequenting his back yard.

He set up the motion-sensor film camera, poured some chocolate syrup on a rock in front of it, and went to bed.

In the morning, he was so eager to retrieve the film, he did so before dressing.



Did he get any pictures of bears?

He still doesn’t know because he hasn’t gotten the courage to send the film in for development.

As the plane pulled up to the gate, I introduced myself: “Hi, I’m Maile.”

“I’m Bruce.”

That was all.