Welcoming Reader Feedback

I love feedback, and you are giving me plenty. I like the positive and the negative. I like when you agree with me, and I like when you don’t, as long as you aren’t abusive (and there are a lot of those people out there).

A couple of columns pushed your buttons. The one with the most feedback was titled “Flying Off About Airline Stress.” A few of you flew off yourselves about your own unpleasant experiences with air travel. It’s clear many of you are not enjoying your time in the skies.

One man wrote, “I recently flew to Washington, D.C. For both segments of the trip, we flew on completely full, small 737s (think inter-island carrier). After boarding the plane in Honolulu, we sat for almost two hours because they had difficulty fueling the jet. We then deplaned and eventually boarded another 737. Once airborne (four hours later), we were finally offered a complimentary beverage; however, no snacks (unless we were willing to buy them). When the woman behind me politely asked for a soft drink, the flight attendant responded sarcastically and loudly: ‘Whatever happened to please, did they take that word out of the dictionary?’ It was embarrassing and humiliating.”

Another reader agreed we should all be more patient and compassionate, but added, “I agree that working in the airline industry is a stressful job, but if you don’t want to provide good customer service, perhaps you should stay away from jobs like that.”

It seems a lot of people want a better experience in the formerly friendly skies.

Another hot-button column, “Obama Supporter Not Buying War,” generated a lot of response. All but one of you agreed with my fervent desire to see the Syria dilemma worked out through diplomacy.

This reader’s opinion was typical: “I share your feelings 100 percent. This situation reminds me of the Cuban missile crisis … the brink of war! The big question for me is, what is our national interest? Let’s hope and pray that cooler heads prevail.”

Only one respondent disagreed, saying, “The truth is Putin stalemated us. Kerry opened his mouth and Putin took advantage of it. We look weak when it comes to foreign policy. I don’t believe the chemical weapons will leave Syria. That’s the illusion with the left. I don’t believe you can talk things out with monsters; what would you have said to Hitler? What about Mao? Mussolini? Wake up, Mrs. Jones. Did you talk it out with the bully when you were in grade school? How did that work out?”

The column about the addictive qualities of devices and social media hit a nerve. A reader was quite honest about her own descent down the social media abyss: “I take my own grown daughter to lunch and sit while she Instagrams (another verb) and Facebooks and whatever else because there are ‘so many friends,’ so to speak, connecting, and it would be rude to make THEM wait! It’s awful. And I too have gotten caught up in the same bizarre bad habit.”

Coincidentally, one of my son’s college professors gave the class an assignment that dovetailed perfectly with my column. The kids had to go completely dark, free of all electronic devices, for three sessions of three hours each and then write about their experiences.

That does not sound like a lot to me, but my son complained and grumped, and I imagine so did a lot of his classmates. He got through those horrible, terrible, difficult hours without his iPhone, computer, tablet and who knows what else.

I can’t wait to read his essay on how he survived the torture.