Today we are flying to Minneapolis. As I type this, we are at 30,000 feet. I can see the puffy top sides of clouds. We soar over a patchwork of circles, trapezoids, rectangles and squares. Unknown lakes and mountains quickly skate by underneath us. The random clouds far below us cast shadows on the land, blob-like dark splotches moving at a glacier’s pace.
It’s strange being up this high. A fine layer of mist covers the territory out the window to the south. Lucky me. I scored the window seat. I will switch places with Jonathon…if he asks. Flying on a plane is one of the few situations where being short is an asset. I never fret about leg room or cabin height. I fit! I ship!
It is also strange to travel without the kids. There are a couple of little kids across the aisle, on the far side of the plane. I hear the piping voice of a little blonde girl, coloring and pointing out what she sees to her mom. The timbre of her voice cuts through the deadening drone of the jet’s diesel engines. The excitement in her voice makes me smile.
Since I awoke at 4:30 today. I should probably nap. But I dislike sleeping in public. Nobody needs to see me drool. I am putting on my best face but I have recently discovered that I no longer like flying. I hate waiting in lines. I don’t like waiting anyway, but you have to wait to check your bag. You wait to board the plane, clumped together at the gate, upright beasts of burden. You stand behind a thousand people to get through security. The line winds around and doubles back like the line for Space Mountain at Disneyland, yet nobody is excited to be there. You basically make yourself most vulnerable, stripping off your shoes, purse, wallet, keys, sweater and watch. You ditch your electronics into a tray. Somebody scans all your items and your person. If you’re especially blessed, somebody feels you up. And no admiring comments on your fabulous figure or even an “I’ll call you!” Add it all together and I feel penalized every time I fly.
I loved flying as a kid. It was exotic and exciting, traveling by air. Somebody brought me soda and lunch. I read a book or played cards with my brother. I listened to music and nodded off, waking up in a new place. Of course, my parents planned all the trip logistics back then, too. Us adults do it now. The reduced expectations back then of not expecting someone – or something – to entertain me created a relaxed atmosphere. I enjoyed the ride and all its quirks.
But now: You pay for everything except headphones and soda. I expected to catch up on Facebook and email while aloft. And I can, if I am willing to pay. Alas, I am cheap. I fully expect to pay to use the restroom on my next flight. Hey, the use of good public restrooms in Paris cost one euro! It’s a growth industry.
I know, I know. The tragedy of 9-11 changed us all forever. I remember. I can appreciate the necessity for heightened security even as I lament the loss of personal privacy and public trust, not to mention the poor folks who died in that horrible tragedy nearly 12 years past.
As the sun beams through the window, warming my right arm, I find I must “choose my own adventure”, to borrow a phrase made popular by a book series from long ago. I will adjust my expectations in order to rediscover the fun. I can entertain myself. This trip presents me with a chance to find the good, to actively look for what is amazing and exceptional.
I am on the hunt.
Sent from my iPad