Thursday, June 11, 2009

Man's Second Greatest Thrill

In a place bereft of gravity, I'm sure that I would enjoy flying without any kind of reservation whatsoever. Trouble is though, it's the law and that's one freaking long arm. Reaches up to thirty five thousand feet in my imagination and damn that's a long way down to a relatively hard place.

Earth wouldn't be too bad a place to land but they've covered it with rocks. The hard kind. They're everywhere. They seem to be multiplying too. I noticed that the last time I went mountain biking. Biking over treacherous terrain was fun and thrilling when my thirties seemed to stretch out ahead of me like the best advertising hook you can imagine. But now that my forties seem to be heading for the exits like they've downed a jumbo soda at a slasher film festival the idea of explaining traction to a bunch of kids that work for you ain't funny no more.

Red convertibles I've got a plausible story line for. Endo's on the single track, not so much.

Every now and again I get on a plane. Really, wings glued to aluminum sheathing so thin that were I olive loaf, the foil wrap would sport a note inviting salmonella to come on in, the water's fine. Screw some engines on, akin to holding a tug of war with Bible-paper rope and you get the idea that we're just fucking with physics in a bad way here.

But that's not the point. What seems to get me is that once down the jetway, sort of the long sharp needle that Mr. Plane cries about every time Nurse Airport pulls it out, every time we descend that ramp humanity seems to get automatic asshole enhancement features.

Nowhere was this more in evidence than when I just flew the red-eye home.

I used to think that the red-eye was a glamorous thing, never having taken one. High powered folks took the red-eye to save time. Jump on an all night plane, stretch out in total comfort and arrive refreshed. Oh, the flight attendants might sprinkle a little sand in your peepers and give you a peck on the cheek just to make it all believable but essentially you were just in your big jet engined bed in the sky.

Now I know better. Shove yourself into economy class where your chin is intimate with the breastbone of the passenger ahead of you. Fold yourself into the shape of a paper clip and get some turbulence-addled shuteye until all the cabin lights come on so they can offer you what's left of the orange juice.

Your feet are hugging your one legal-sized carry on, shoved under your seat because apparently the folks six rows down, the ones transporting their infant to the Utica colic festival think that carry on has the same amount of syllables and essentially means the same thing as "checked bags big enough to fill a city bus."

Of course, you've got a few hours. Took about six to get out here so if you take out the sudden jerks awake when you realize you've drooled the contents of Lake Mead on your shirt or rested your hand inappropriately on the lap of the knife salesman sitting next to you, you'll still get about four solid hours of rest. Too bad the prevailing winds will blow you home in less than three hours so by the time you land in the office bat-shit tired and ready to sign contracts that promise you washing the client's car into the second Palin administration you're only running on about an hour and even that gets interrupted for "Orange juice?"

And while the Colic Clan sprint merrily off to parking lot B, I'm dutifully at the carousel waiting for my bag which is no doubt being retrieved from Burundi.

There's another great adventure in travel out there somewhere. I just don't know where and if I find it I'm keeping it to myself for a while. In between fifty five, toll booths and construction sites, Amtrak hot dogs and TSA strip searches of yogurt, I want to keep the government from fucking up another experience. Add to that the happy colickers doing fifty two in the left lane, stretching across three seats or packing up everything but Jethro and Granny's rocker for the flight to L.A. and you start to understand that while God may have made beer to prove that he wants us to be happy, he made travel to warn us of the hot place that lies beyond selling your soul for a first class upgrade.

Best regards from fifteen miles above the limit, three gin and tonics in the club car and the personal tv screen and free socks in business class.

Oh, and if there's turbulence, toss two parts gin and a dash of vermouth in a shaker, I'll hold it for the duration.

Bunny on.


Blogger Johnny C. said...

God damn that was great! During my "hiatus" I forgot about all of the good shit I was missing out on. Glad to see you're still at it.

11:31 AM  

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