Friday, June 4, 2010

On The Plane

I'm not sure why leaving for Chicago two days after I returned from the Carolinas seemed like a good idea to me when we made these plans, but it did. I liked the notion of being peripatetic, of feeling unanchored to a particular place, of moving. Flying doesn't bother me; I like airports and airplanes and traveling above the clouds. Yes, the seats are small and the big guy next to me is flesh-ing over into my space, but TBG is across the aisle and the Little Cuter and SIR are waiting at the other end so I'm willing to put up with some discomfort for the pleasure of their company. Riding in a car for 3 hours would put me somewhere in New Mexico. Flying for 3 hours puts me in the Windy City. It's a no brainer.

Southwest is my favorite carrier, and they are better now that they issue numbered boarding passes. No more arriving 2 hours early to sit on the floor in a line. The overhead bins are spacious enough for most suitcases (alas, not TBG's) to fit in wheels front, and there's even enough leg room for TBG's 6' of man. Continental served me snacks on all 4 of my flight segments last week, but their seats were narrower than I am, and I'm not very big at all. I'll pass on the processed meat and cheese spreads everytime, if space is the trade-off.I'm always surprised to see how confused some travelers become in the waiting area. A mother of 3 extremely well-behaved children couldn't figure out how to line up..... and there were stanchions with numbers right in front of us. I didn't mind sharing my expertise, and the grateful look on her face made me feel somewhat abashed for thinking ill of her. Somewhat..... after all, it's not that hard.

The flight attendant had to use her disciplinarian's voice to get all the iPhones and iPads and iPods turned off. “No game mode.... no airplane mode.... OFF means COMLETELY OFF.” I'm not sure that the plane will drop from the sky should a passenger not comply with her request, but Nellie the Netbook was dark and stored in my carry-on, just in case. It would be nice to think that our pilot is as competent as Sully was, but just in case, I'm compliant.

I'm watching out the window and trying to compare the land masses and rivers to the map on the back page of the in-flight magazine, but I'm failing miserably. I asked the flight attendant and she hadn't a clue. I think that I would be more curious than she is, were I to travel the same route day after day. Oh, well.......

Some states are divided into squares, and some are divided into circles and some are sub-division after sub-division after sub-division blending into a city. Flying into Houston is a prime example. There are acres of green trees, then neighborhoods plopped onto scraped surfaces in the middle of more green trees. Some areas have left the flora and seem to be erecting houses around the trees, but most of the developers seem to have taken the easy way out and have bladed the land clear. I don't think you notice it as you're driving towards the Open House, but from the air the destruction is pretty clear. I began to feel like a curmudgeon as I contemplated the bare plots with their curving driveways; it was time to open my book.

Reading on the plane isn't the same as reading on the couch. I can't snuggle up with a pillow in the corner, I can't adjust the reading lamp exactly right, and the fools next to me are talking in voices loud enough to be heard in the back of the plane. But there's no one to call, no emails can be answered, and the movie is not worth watching. A crossword puzzle would be a good alternative, but the friendly fellow beside me is likely to try to help. Honestly... just maintain your flesh within the confines of your own seat and let me be.

Hmmmm...... maybe I was right when I began to type this post. Having a quiet conversation with my readers keeps me connected, feeling useful, and helps to pass the time. Thanks for being there (here?) for me.