SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 54: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

Last night I picked it up while in flight, sharing my tale of noise pollution and briefly reviewing September 9th’s motivation to start 365 – again, an on-plane sensory experience of aromatic perspective.

This evening the air travel angels are with me, being seated next to the most charming Italian couple, beautiful dancer Giorgia, and very gracious musician Giorgio, both hailing from Venice. I could not ask for better travel mates.

We talk about 365, but in compassion to them and limited by very cramped quarters, we pass on making any pictures. They are planning to stay in LA for a couple of weeks, so  we are leaving it at getting together for an interview over the next week or so. Very cool of them. They have my card; hope they call me. Plus, I need to allow them their in-flight sleep time. They’re fried, having already been air cargo for eight hours and now undertaking five more hours of leg-cramp en route to L.A.

The last deal breaker: I have already photographed today’s friend and airport terminal companion, Reid.

Reid and I run into each other finding our gate randomly reassigned. Gate agent instructs us, “It’s just around the corner, Gate C-29.” For geographical point-of-reference, Reid and I are standing at B-11.

Off we go as instructed, “Just around to corner.” I love airports! Corner? Sure, if the distance is being compared to the length of a runway required to land a Boing 747. “Just around the corner” turns out to be the mother of all airport hikes, myself with 45 pounds of shoulder strap, and Reid bearing a bag on his lap the size of himself. The guy is a rock. I’m walking and fading fast and he is relentless. With one arm on the steering controls of his airport chair and the other holding his heavy luggage in his lap, he is my saving grace. Reid and his trusty chair blaze a path through the passenger-loaded thoroughfare and I’m grateful to follow his lead. Reid, thanks for the tow buddy, I owe you one!

As we race to C-29, I talk to him about 365. He is willing, but we are now both very behind in our need to settle prior to boarding. Myself anticipating a phone call and Reid crunching to get his stand-by arrangements worked out.

Fifteen minutes down and C-29 within grasping distance we are welcomed by a packed seating area. Lucky for Reid the line at the gate counter is minimal. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Reid is a great: extroverted, witty and highly intelligent, he scoots right up to the agent and in no time has a ticket in hand.

No waiting room seating to be had, I snuggle up to an architectural column and arrange my stuff in anticipation of getting a brief moment with Reid.

With pre-boarding calls calling out, we manage to find time for an extremely rushed interview and a few photos.

Here is what I find out.

•Reid has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Paleontology and is working on his Masters.

•He is traveling to Las Vegas as an invited presenter at a leading Paleontology Convention.

• One day he will be working as the curator of fossil exhibits at a leading museum (he expresses this to me as a goal, but somehow I already see him in the role).

We literally grab five minutes to shoot a couple photos and to express a few thoughts. I ask him to share words for you guys.

Words we’ve come to know, “Never give up!”

I leave Reid with this, “Thanks for what you do. My 8-year-old daughter loves Dinosaurs and knows what a Paleontologist is. Now I can tell her I’ve met a science superstar.”

He smiles at my words and disappears into the crowd.

Reid, knock’em dead in LV!