people on planes. they’re quite a sight. it’s almost like we’re a different species when we board an aircraft. you see people in this raw, emotional state. some of us feel entitled. some of us get emotional. some of us panic. some of us become annoyed. but whoever we are, we find ourselves surrounded by strangers with whom we are creating a unique and unrepeatable bond. there’s this experience that, for however long or short a time, is connecting us all, uniting each of us as we sail through the air to our many futures. quite a perspective, yes?
i write to you tonight from a b757-200(n) bound for texas. i’ve got a chatty smoker to my right and a crewcut gentleman to my left. she, i could do without. he, he might be fun company for the next hour and 38 minutes. the lady in front of me has clearly boarded the plane in quite a state. she’s obviously stressed and out of breath. i so hope she had to run to catch the plane! i love watching people who are running for a bus or train or flight. i have been that person many times, so i will gladly enjoy a smile at their expense. but only if they make it! if they miss it, it’s just sad.
we’ve got a 12 year-old boy pouting over his mother, someone’s dog yipping and yapping, and now, oh no. the guy to my left will not stop fidgeting and whistling. i wouldn’t normally mind, but i cannot escape it! there’s nowhere i can go! perhaps he’ll tire himself out before too long. yes, yes, keep fidgeting and whistling, sir. i dare you.
writing and reading and writing some more as i am aboard this flight is almost a form of entertainment in itself. good thing i think i’m pretty funny! (no comments, please.)
uh oh. now the smoker is engaging me in conversation. please, can you not see me engrossed in my writing? my imagination is soaring above the skyline as we take off, and i only wish i were destined for some place new and exotic, some place tropical or scenic or foreign…yes, any of those would do just fine.
as we climb to 10,000 feet, i rest my head and at least close my eyes for a few. i wouldn’t say i’m tired, but i’m fine with the day winding down soon. the whistler has crept out of this personal space just a tad, and our knees and elbows are resting on one another. i couldn’t really scoot myself any more to the right, but i find that i don’t really mind. were i more tired, i might have even snuggled up next to him. okay, this all sounds odd. let me clarify: i do not go around town looking for strangers who will snuggle with me. all i’m saying is that this little bit of human touch felt nice. if you’re judging me, then you’re only denying the fact that you agree. if you’re laughing at me, please go on. i find myself to be quite humorous as well.
ah, and now he slumbers so peacefully and quietly. i knew the fidgeting and whistling would wear him out! it’s as if i can tell the future. it’s as though i know what is going to happen. it’s like i’m making it all up in my head to entertain myself. yep, definitely the latter of them all.
whenever i travel, i always wonder about the people i see. where are they going? where are they from? what do they do? what is their story? i like to paint their pictures myself, because i’m not always in the mood to dive deep with a stranger. we’ll say the whistler is a military man. i make this assumption merely on his demeanor and tattoos. the smoker to my right? she’s a divorcee, her kids are out of college, and she’s reluctantly traveling this week for work. see? wasn’t that fun? now you try!
we’re cruising along at 38,000 feet, storms to our left but sunshine as far as i can see. speaking of seeing, i’ve always been curious to know what the sky looks like from the captain’s seat. just breathtaking horizons that stretch on forever. i bet it is quite a view. actually, a view i would love to have, but probably never will, is one from outer space. wouldn’t it be a magnificent thing, to see the curve of the earth with your own eyes? our planet in all its majesty? actually, you want to know the real reason i want to see the earth from space? because i still think it’s flat. kidding! i’m totally joking! i had you for a moment, though, didn’t i? you can say yes. i’ll accept that answer.
i pause here to not apologize but rather thank you for sticking around through this flight with me. my mind gets off track sometimes, hurtling itself down a new rabbit hole before finding the end of the first one. can i loosely compare it to stream of consciousness? why, yes. yes, i can.
something i despise about planes is the alarmingly distinct scent of the recycled air. it smells like nothing else and sometimes even gives me a headache. anyone else out there know what i mean? and speaking of unpleasant smells, i am convinced someone just cut the cheese. take that stink to the bathroom, man! i do not need to know what your personal brand smells like.
ah, just ahead is the drink and snack cart, that 5,000 pound rolling dresser of sustenance. okay, i know it doesn’t weight 5,000 pounds, but that thing is heavy. they’ve got some serious brakes to keep it in place. what should i get tonight? a glass of champagne? some chilled pinot grigio? hardly. i’ll probably end up with orange juice like always. yep, orange juice it is. not too heavy and just enough to hold me over until i land, because you know once i land, grab my luggage, and zoom away in my rental that i’ll be stopping at in-n-out for a milkshake. it’ll definitely be chocolate, and it’s going to be the perfect treat for the end of the day’s journey.
we eventually begin our descent into dallas, and the captain has so kindly informed us that it’s a toasty 92 degrees outside. oh, yeah, i’m definitely going to be wanting that milkshake when i arrive…