How we cite our quotes:
Not that he had much to say. He was thirteen and the only passenger on the plane was a pilot named—what was it? Jim or Jake or something—who was in his mid-forties and who had been silent as he worked to prepare for takeoff. In fact, since Brian had come to the small airport in Hampton, New York, to meet the plane—driven by his mother—the pilot had spoken only five words to him. (1.2)
The pilot, it seems, isn't a particularly talkative guy, but Brian isn't really in the mood to make friends anyway. He's way too busy trying to deal with his own sadness and anger, and to do that well, it's best not to talk to strangers. Didn't your mama ever tell you that?
The pilot sat large, his hands lightly on the wheel, feet on the rudder pedals. He seemed more machine than a man, an extension of the plane. On the dashboard in front of him Brian saw dials, switches, meters, knobs, levers, cranks, lights, handles that were wiggling and flickering, all indicating nothing that he understood and the pilot seemed the same way. Part of the plane, not human. (1.16)
Brian sees the pilot as just another part of the plane, which is not exactly a compliment. It's probably partially a result of his unfamiliarity with the plane and its instruments, but it also gives us a clue about where he is emotionally. All he sees around him are objects, not people.
His mother had driven him from the city to meet the plane at Hampton where it came to pick up the drilling equipment. A drive in silence, a long drive in silence. Two and a half hours of sitting in the car, staring out the window just as he was now staring out the window of the plane. (1.41)
Ouch—talk about uncomfortable. Anyone who's ever been on a road trip knows that half the fun comes from chatting and singing. Steely silence is not exactly the stuff of highway hijinks. You have to wonder if this is how things have been at Brian's house ever since the whole divorce thing started. And if that's the case, that means Brian is probably one lonely boy at this point.