On an American Airlines flight several years ago, I read a fascinating article in American Way written by Charlotte Huff entitled “Focus” (Nov. 1, 2007). The story explored brain chemistry when people are distracted while trying to multitask. A curiosity seed was planted. I saved the article and reread it many times. Then I decided to learn more, seeking out scientific journals and experts in the area. Your article stimulated my search to learn more about how interruptions might influence patient safety and medication errors in hospitals. As a result, this culminated in two publications in medical journals. Congratulations, American Way, on the wonderful authors and selections you make.
Editor Adam Pitluk Responds: Wow, Dr. Clark. That’s quite the distinction. We’re honored to have spurred such consequential research. And we’ll do it again.
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As we taxi to the terminal, I am torn between finishing the last paragraph of Stephen J. Lyons’ recent article on Hyde Park (“Chicago’s Culture Coast,” Sept. 1) and gazing out my window to that all-too-nostalgic memory of the Raleigh/Durham Airport on my first American flight down here 30 years ago.
I waive nostalgia in favor of savoring the end of the article and quickly jot down in the running travel memo I keep on my smartphone the names of the bookstore and restaurants that peaked my interest. It was because of the wonderfully written articles in American Way that my travel-notes list began. I love traveling to new places and discovering the local culture and flavors of the area, but I often don’t know where to ?begin. Years ago I took notes from an American Way article on New Orleans that led me on a sort of self-guided walking/discovery tour of the flower district of New Orleans.
Next week we are going to Charleston, S.C., and have a reservation at FIG because of another article I read in your great magazine. So many places to go, so little time, but your magazine provides wonderful insight into places that I can still dream about and maybe one day get to. Thank you.
A.P. Responds: Annemiek, you are exactly whom we are trying to reach. American Way is a service for AA passengers. We go to great lengths to make sure you have the best trip possible, and we care about your experience on the road. That’s why we’re the only in-flight magazine to come out twice a month, so that you have fresh content every time you fly.
I glanced at editor Adam Pitluk’s “Listen Up, Children” title (“Editor’s Note,” July 15), saw Jane’s Addiction in the text and had to read the article. I, too, was discouraged from attending many concerts. I had to fight tooth and nail to see that crazy alternative band R.E.M. in 1986. An emergency family trip came up and I had to give away my U2 tickets. In ’87, 10 of my classmates headed to D.C. to see Dylan, Petty and the Dead. I didn’t mention this epic event to my folks for fear of being kicked out of the house.
When I got to college at The Citadel in Charleston, my roommate introduced me to Jane’s Addiction, and I immediately fell in love and shared the same “L.A. wanderlust.” I missed two of their shows during college. I missed them at the first Lollapalooza. My parents would have been thrilled. I figured I had missed too many chances and that I would never see them.
Finally, at the tender age of 42, unbeknownst to my parents, I, like Adam, got to finally see Jane’s Addiction (on Miami’s South Beach; not the ideal venue for Jane’s, but I’ll take it). They were as tight as they were 20-plus years ago; still the rock stars I remember them to be. And as with Adam, my teenage daughters will never go to one of these shows.
A.P. Responds: I think we were separated at birth, Brandon. I wasn’t allowed to go to the exact same concerts. But look at us now: No one tells us what to do. Except our wives. And our bosses. And everyone else. At least we can listen to whatever we want (as long as our children aren’t in the room). The horror of being your own man.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE (AND A MAGAZINE)
On a recent American Airlines flight to Boston, I observed an extremely nervous child. He was crying, wanting to play with his toys, and he continued to unbuckle his seat belt. From what I overheard, this child had been traveling with his family from Chennai, India, and was on the last leg of his journey. I’ve been known to have a meltdown when I’m stuck on the 405 freeway for 10 minutes, so I can only imagine how anxious this child was to reach his final destination.
I often observe passengers rolling their eyes or murmuring the words, “It’s gonna be a long flight” at the thought of an unruly child sitting next to them. Not this flight. I was delighted to see at least four or five passengers offering assistance to the child’s parents. One lady offered snacks. Another couple offered to trade their window seat with the child. Lastly, an elderly gentlemen offered to read him a story from American Way. The child’s eyes lit up. This nice man spent the next hour or so reading articles to this child. The rest of the time, the child was inspecting every inch of your magazine. The flight was as quiet as could be. Thank you, American Way.
A.P. Responds: Now that’s a first, Sonny. I’d encourage all parents with finicky children to follow this example.