Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Flying

I am notoriously uncomfortable with plane landings, and generally just keep my eyes down and recite the US presidents or state capitals to myself (not that I know all of either) while squeezing the life out of Phil's hand, if he's unlucky enough to be on the plane with me. But it's a little known fact that I actually love flying itself. Landings, no. But takeoffs and flight itself, I adore. (there's got to be a metaphor here, but I'll let you work it out for yourselves however you want).
I even like airports - despite having been stuck in them so much lately that the staff in the international terminal at Atalanta started to recognize me this week. I like people-watching, and guessing where everyone's from. I like how many bathrooms there are, and how emotional it is to see people finding each other at the baggage check. Pure exhausted relief that journeys are over, and travelers have made it to wherever they're supposed to be: weddings, vacations, meetings, funerals, births of babies, with family for holidays. Women are always primping in the bathroom trying make themselves look presentable before being seen. Men are always waiting outside the ladies bathroom with piles of baggage, looking passive and rebooting their cell phones. Kids are standing in obstructive places, finding creative ways to annoy the crap out of each other.
You see snippets of a hundred stories that you don't understand and get to guess about.

I was more than thrilled to fly out of Vegas on a clear sunny day last Thursday because it meant that I got to see the city from above, as well as the beautiful desert & mountains of Nevada, and then the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River and parts of New Mexico, Texas and Alabama, which the pilot was awesome enough to point out. I'm not usually one for busting out the camera and shooting from my window seat, but I was so enamored with the vast open landscapes, I couldn't resist.

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