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face time in an anonymous culture

Time flies
Originally uploaded by allysonoverdrive
Last weekend I spent time on four different airplanes and thus had the chance to sit next to four different strangers. Each situation went differently; I talked with one girl for the entire ride, slept through the next ride (as did the girl two seats over from me), warmed up nicely to the mom I sat next to, and was disgusted by the last lady. The matchups that stick with me, though, are the ones that went well. I learned a lot about these people I sat next to, and shared a lot, and I honestly don't even know their names. What encourages strangers to talk to each other, and share with each other, on an airplane when friends resort to email and text messaging and people will not even look at each other on the street? Is it the close personal space, the shared situation of being on the plane, or that small possibility that the plane could crash...?