Read Part 1?
Cruising altitude. I was very excited when I checked in for my flight online and was able to trade my seat for a window seat. Still quite anxious I arrived to my seat on the plane and was very excited to open the shade that would reveal the window through which I was to later view the rolling countrysides and vast cities over which we were to fly over. To me these sights are comforting; they take my mind off the fact that I am literally flying through the air at great altitudes in a giant piece of metal fashioned into a tube, not to mention, maintained by Bradley the drunken airplane technician. When I reached my seat and raised the blind, did I reveal a vast, open World of sights to be seen? No. I revealed the intimate and rusty workings of an airplane jet engine. Now at thirty thousand feet above sea level I can only see all the places where the missing size forty-seven nuts should be and all I can do is feel the heavy vibrations of the engine and realize that I am sitting within twelve inches of the thing on this plane that is most likely to explode over Ohio. Wonderful. First thing learned: I am afraid of flying. Not deathly of course but enough so that my intimate relationship with the giant vibrator next to me has made me want to make silly, morbid jokes about it being a sex toy.
I have however found comfort in a strange flight attendant ,that looks like Larry from Three’s Company in heavy make-up; I shall call her Kathy. Never mind. Larry is quite good enough. I found Larry immensely entertaining when she commented on how tired she was of seeing black carry-ons and loves it when a polka-dot enters her life. Also to the left of me, filling the other two seats, are a cute and quirky German couple; I shall call them Hans and Inga. Hans consistently feels the air coming from the air conditioning tubes as though it is some kind of obsessive compulsive life force filling his body with superpowers through his fingertips and Inga is fast asleep; how jealous I am. In front of me is an older couple. I can not see the woman immediately in front of me but the man to her left I find quite intriguing; I shall call him Hank. His old face is filled with the effects of a life full of smiling, though at that moment he was just short of tears. The lines around his gentle eyes, the irrigation canals of his tears are deep from what I imagine is an existence boiling over with great love, great adventure and great contentment. I’d like to think that Hank is crying because he just finished a weekend visit to see his grandchildren in Riverside and just hates that he doesn’t live any closer to them.
So here I sit uncomfortably on my way to a three hour lay-over in Chicago, listening to the calming tunes of through borrowed headphones on a laptop that will soon die. I’m hoping that Larry does something funny because I can imagine her being a riot in the London Underground. I’m hoping that Hans and Inga start a conversation with me but forget to speak English; that would be a great game of charades. I’m hoping that when I am Hank’s age, I will have the same stories engraved on my old, otherwise withered, face and I’m wondering when this giant piece of metal will be flying over Ohio. And once again, my ass is asleep before I am.