Airplane Thumbing

I wrote this post yesterday on the plane flight from Chicago...

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written one of these “Thumbing” posts.  I’ve done a few on the subway—you can look for them using the search bar on my blog to the right.  In fact, it’s pretty rare that I write much of anything that’s not about technology, venture capital, or occasionally politics here.  It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say about other aspects of life—I have tons.  I just find it kind of boring to recount the details of things I’ve done day to say in one big post after I read them.  I’d rather release them all in little bits as they happen on Twitter, Foursquare or through photos. 

With some stuff, I have lots to say, but can’t really talk too much about them—like dating & relationships.  It’s something that occupies a huge chunk of mental and emotional bandwidth for single people, but talk too much about it in public and you become and oversharer.  Plus, at least with venture capital and tech I feel like I have some clue what I’m doing.  I’m not sure I’ve actually learned anything useful about dating in the 20 years that I’ve been doing it.  Yup, I had a girlfriend in the seventh grade.  Her name was Lisa.  She was a sixth grader.  She made me do some kind of dance to “Take My Breath Away” at a talent show with her.  I’m pretty sure whatever moves she had choreographed for me wouldn’t fall under any kind of technical definition of actual dance—and it may have been the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done.  At least the time I got clonked on the head while trying to catch a Little League fly ball I made up for it with three hits that game.  With the dance, there was really no saving grace for me. 

Lisa’s parents were probably the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life.  A couple of months ago, I found myself on her street in Downtown Brooklyn.  I’m not sure if they still live there anymore, but I secretly hoped that I would run into them.  I can hear her mom’s Cuban accent when she said my name.  They had a dog named Binky. 

Hmm.  Now that I think of it, Binky’s probably been dead for quite a long time.   Dogs don’t live nearly long enough.  While in Chicago, I saw a Bichon on the street.  I smiled and told the owner that our family is on its second Bichon.  “Me, too!” is kind of an interesting human emotion—the desire to group up and connect.  Someone commented on my checkin to Haru the other day by saying “I ate there last night!”  Why do we do that?  What evolutionary trait persists to this day that makes us tell each other that we also eat at the same places, watched the same TV shows growing up, or also know how to eat a banana the right way.

Sorry, the girl sitting next to me just tore open a banana the same way everyone else does it—completely ass backwards.  Monkeys know better than humans on this one.  Instead of ripping the part that connects to the right of the bunch, you’re supposed to take the pointy end, pinch it, and it actually peels really easily.  In fact, the first time you ever do it, you feel ridiculous (and ironically rather ape-like) for trying to in the hard way.

Speaking of going in the hard way, perhaps the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life was during one of my last days at GM.  I was walking out of our building on 59th and 5th with Jeff the Intern.  We were waiting on a short line to walk through a revolving door—and person after person went through the right side, putting their hands on the crossbar, easing themselves around. 

The kid in front of us—he wasn’t having it.

He puts his hand flat against the glass on the left side, opposite the way the door has been turning for each person ahead of him and procedes to push counter-clockwise on the door, forcing it to go the other way.  It was a struggle and he was in full-Heisman stance the whole way around the door.  Jeff and I just stopped in our tracks and completely lost it.  I have no idea what possessed that kid to go against the grain.  It took him forever, but at no point did he hesistant and think for a second that maybe there was an easier way.

The woman across the aisle has been reading Skymall this whole flight—not flipping through—actually reading it.  Every description, left to right, up and down, as if it was a novel.  I want to meet the person who writes the copy for Skymall.  Isn’t Skymall a monopoly?  Skymall is one of those companies where some private equity guy sits there and goes “That’s a random ass business no one’s ever thought about… I’ll bet you I can buy that cheap.”  That’s the way private equity firm portfolio companies read.  You don’t realize how esoteric the long tail of companies in our economy is until you’ve looked at a middle market buyout portfolio.  There’s a single software company behind those fun little bowling animations, you know.  I forget the name, but that’s all they do—they write the software that you use in a bowling alley. 

I’m not really thumbing this, by the way.  I have my five year old laptop with me because I left my iPad charging at work.  Tomorrow was supposed to be a vacation day, but yet I still have two meetings and I’m thinking of trying to make it to the end of Brooklyn Beta.  It’s not that I can’t stop working—I just really like it. 

I should probably vacation more, but if you’re a single guy in your 30’s, it’s pretty hard to find someone to go with.  Guys don’t usually vacation together—and now a lot of my friends are married, some with babies.  Wives and kids are the first companion choices, obviously.  I did go down to Tampa earlier this year for a guy trip to watch Spring training on a bachelor party trip.  I’m not particularly well travelled internationally, but I’ve pretty much been everywhere in the lower 48.  Maine, San Diego, and the Grand Canyon are continental destinations I still haven’t been to yet—and if I’m really being thorough, I’ve only been to 12 of the active baseball stadiums. 

I’m looking forward to apple picking tomorrow.  Yes, that makes tomorrow cheat day.  I go up to Och’s Orchard—the same place I used to go as a kid.  I think that big stick with the claw on the end of it is my favorite.  I don’t have many skills, but I’m undoubtedly world class when it comes to pulling down apples off a tree without stabbing them or knocking off other apples.  I’m like a tree surgeon. 

I like thinking about time travel—and whether or not I could wake up one day in the past while still being fully aware of all the things I’ve done since then.  It’s interesting to think about whether or not I could consciously make it back to where I am now—or whether I’d want to.

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have agreed to do that silly dance in the seventh grade.