Earlier in the week I began a long journey from northeast Europe to the southwest of the United States. The trip was filled with the typical aggravations, e.g., flight delays, security checks, lousy coffee and so on.
Still, I enjoyed the opportunity to observe and think. For one, I thought from thousands of feet up that it is an amazing thing that I could travel so far in about a day due to the wonders of technology. During the late 18th century a trip across the Atlantic could take a couple of months and be quite harrowing.
Here are some of my other musings from the air:
Some people are quite testy when traveling. One guy kept shoving me from behind in a security line at 5:45 am. I couldn’t help wondering where he thought he was going. I’ve never seen so many people that early in the morning. On the long flight, an Indian man kept complaining to the guy next to me that his knees were pressing his back. My neighbor exclaimed, “Sorry I have long legs!”. I wanted to pull my book up to my eyes and avoid what I presumed would be a fistfight.
On the way down the aisle, some young buck was berating an old lady for not moving so he could get into his seat. She just looked at me and smiled, and commented, “I’m getting up. I’m getting up.” I thought, “what a jerk”, but again had no desire to become part of the altercation.
We are getting to the point when they are going to make us completely disrobe to go through security. I stopped wearing my belt altogether. At Dallas I was made to go through some kind of teleporter-looking scan, step on two sets of footprints and be calm about it after 20 hours of travel. My offense: I had an inkpen in my shirt pocket. “Squawk, sqauwk..he had an inkpen in his pocket,” said the security man to his walkie-talkie. Horrors I thought. Mostly during this kind of thing I think, “Thanks Osama”.
I wonder when the U.S. government is going to make their employees learn proper English. The woman who welcomed me to passport control spoke a broken flavor of it, and one of the people making flight announcements mumbled through her microphone. Neither were very easy to understand.
If you haven’t seen the movie “State of Play”, do it. I saw it on British Airways, and although the rest of their entertainment was unappealing, this was a flick worth seeing.
Finally, most of my travel was on my father’s birthday. He died a few years back and I thought of his birthday as I flew. For some reason, maybe because I kept disrobing in security, I thought about how nattily dressed he was when he went out. A lot of the people I saw dressed like slobs.
Happy birthday, Dad!