Dialogue: funny, sarcastic, unexpected, anything that'll lighten the mood. And then there's the message. You could have gone out and written. Why didn't you? Because I'm an entertainment whore, a distraction whore. There's a story for you: a man who lives for distractions. Maybe--no. Stop worrying about the mechanism and just do it. Don't write what you think the characters would say; instead, write what you would want them to say, or what you'd want to listen to. Be outrageous and be funny. You know funny and moving. Use that knowledge.
Story Idea: "Fuck this shit." NY guy who watched Northern exposure growing up and sympathized and laughed with Dr. Fleishman finds his attitude has completely changed and he looks at the doctor with almost contempt. Tie this in with NY guy on airplane.