Well I don’t know what I’m looking for…

But I know that I just want to look some more
And I won’t be satisfied
‘Till there’s nothing left that I haven’t tried
For some people it’s an easy choice
But for me there’s a devil and an angel’s voice
Well I don’t know what I am looking for
But I know that I just want to look some more

I am in Saint-Petersburg, which will be spelled like so from here on out, not Petersburg, not St. Petersburg, not Petrograd, not Санкт-Петербург.

I just slept for two days. That’s some intense jetlag. It was a great plane ride over though. Polish Airlines. They kept showing this little animated video in which a cartoon lady demonstrates how you can exercise while remaining in your seat. As she’d demonstrate exercises, the video kept cutting to other animated men who turn their heads and watch her intently. Too intently for comfort, methinks.

Every time I get on an airplane I sit down and immediately complain to whoever is sitting next to me that seat belts on planes are useless. If this plane crashes, we are all going to die: simple as that. They don’t have seat belts on public buses, do they? Heck, even with schoolchildren (many of whom need to be chained down) there are no seat belts on buses. I feel strongly about not enforcing the fasten-your-seatbelt rule on planes; we ought to take our flights like the Roman warriors took their battles: if it is my day to die, so be it.

And then I read stories like this.

What the heck is up with the “no smoking” icon? Of course there is no smoking on airplanes! What, you’d have to have not been on an airplane since 1970 to not know this!

There was an old man on my flight who stood for the entire time. I only slept a couple hours, the rest of the time I watched movies, and periodically glanced over at this guy. He periodically glanced over at me. We had a conversation, without speaking.

“You’re old”, I said.
“You’re young”, he said.

“You’re standing”, I said.
“You’re sitting”, he said.

“You’re not watching the movie”, I said.
“You are watching the movie”, he said.

“You sure use the bathroom a lot. Perhaps that’s why you are standing”, I said.
“You haven’t peed once this flight. That’s amazing!” he said.
“And I’m not going to, old man. I’m gonna hold it.”

“We are opposites, you and I, old/young, standing/sitting, peeing/not, yin/yang, and here we both are, hurtling through the sky at 1000 miles per hour.”

Which made me think about 1000 miles per hour: that’s a lot of miles in an hour. A thousand of them. That’s 16.6 miles per minute. That’s a third of a mile every second. Seatbelts—really?

And then dawn hit, which I swear hits faster and harder when you are rushing towards it at 1000 miles per hour. At first, it was just a line of red in the black, then orange, then deep blue, cold blue (-60 degrees), then that great, NASA blue, and finally the sun starts to poke up and the whole thing becomes too brilliant to look at without burning your eyes.

It is at moments like these, when I’m traveling at .3 miles per second tens of thousands of feet in the air, with dawn breaking and the clouds rolling under me like scrolls of silver that I begin to quietly wax poetical to myself.

Sometimes I feel like I am 20, a lot of the time I feel like I’m 70, and in either case, I feel like a fool.

3 replies »

  1. you funny. i have very strong opinions about people who recline in their chair. it infuriates me. because it’s a total domino effect and suddenly everyone is reclining and here i am, the only one with the courage to break the chain! and therefore with the least space. the sacrifices i make!


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