Saturday, September 13, 2008

Observations while flying

Friday September 12, 2008
US Airways, San Francisco to Philadelphia

If you bought everything in the SkyMall catalog, would your life be better? Virtually every product in it offers some genius solution to life’s everyday little problems, every page featuring at least one absolutely revolutionary item with the potential to change your reality… SERIOUSLY!

Flight attendants who call me “hon” when they ask to take away my trash. Making me wonder about these very American endearments and how much I love the hons, sweeties, dears, darlins. I am trying to remember if French offers as many random endearments to strangers. I’ll be listening for this over the next week.

Write to Eric Monkhouse about listening to his grooves while flying – super cool! Except that I really need better headphones! And a longer lived battery in my laptop.

Why is it that the moment we were checked in, that we had our coffee, that I’d paid the $8.99 to TMobile for a day wireless pass, that the god damn headache that’s been plaguing me for three days just vanished?? The Imitrex at 4:30 this morning did little to dull or mask the pain. The several Vicodin I took yesterday and the day before just barely got me through the day, always still that dull throb just above and behind my left eye. As soon as I was on vacation, free, I was giddy and no more headache. Is it all me? Is it just my own creation, the physical form that my stress takes, the way it takes my entire head in its grip and squeezes?

The man next to me from San Francisco to Philadelphia has terrible halitosis. I am spending most of the flight with my nostrils inclined to the right.

For Joe, vacation starts the moment we’re on the plane, because that’s the point at which we no longer have control, the point at which only someone else can fuck it up for us. For me, it’s the moment the bags are checked and I’m cruising the airport with only my carry-on – ready for adventure!

And how fucking awesome is it to be wireless at the airport, checking in with friends on Facebook in a public space. LOVE IT. Those people who want to leave technology behind on vacation, more power to you. For me, the real delight is in being able to use it for what I want to use it for – bullshit chatting with friends, looking things up, connecting the dots, writing down what I think – such a welcome break from the more usual work-related slog… Such a treat to have a chance to think at all, to be a passenger.

We’re only a few hours into a really long travel day, but I am reminded as I sit here in my tiny airplane seat of how much I love traveling, how much I love going to new places, how much I love leaving the trappings of my “normal” life behind!

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