Joy of Transit

On the air ride to LA I remembered a moment this morning. I had my iPod switched over to random music mode. I sat in my chair sleeping to the outside world, but a flurry of thoughts inside. I had finagled an exit-row seat, as I often do when flying a Boeing 737-800. It gives you the extra leg room and on the newer models the seat and tray are configured nicely. The plane was moderately full so the middle seat was vacant and a business man sat by the window. He looked intently staring at his newspaper, but in reality he was fast asleep, head bobbing…blackberry blinking. It was blissful. I stuck my feet underneath the middle seat and dazed off into oblivion. Its not often that I take an early morning flight, and Sun Country has most of their upgraded 737 fleet on the better of destinations that they fly. The extra wing-tip spoilers made for a great, smooth ride…it was all so perfect.

The iPod switched tracks and started playing Chemistry of a Car Crash, by Shiny Toy Guns (Thanks, S-Nizzle). My eyes opened and shuttered for a minute adjusting. I panned around the cabin in front of me and started living vicariously through everyone for a moment. My heart lightened for a moment as I realized what was going on. People were communicating and having a good time. The kids with the skateboards were making fun of eachother and laughing, the Dad of a massive family was leaning over the seats laughing and joking with his daughters. Flight attendants in first class were talking to an IT guy that I had chatted with before we boarded. It was a very pleasant and interesting scene. I felt comfortable and at ease with everything which is unusual for an airplane ride. Perhaps it plays into what I had mentioned in my last blog entry. How could you be made when you were traveling to LA?

Then again, I hadn’t realized what Los Angeles was really like yet, so I got the feeling that everyone was about to have a great time. Either they were returning home to their beloved city or they were on their way to a magical new journey. I know the guy behind me was going to Compton to a rare car auction to pick up swanky cars to be remodeled and sold for a profit. I know this because he explained it in excruciating detail, about nineteen times to a few different people behind me. Why is it that businessmen constantly feel the need to impress themselves and others around them? Hey, I roll a blackberry too, and I use words like synergy and paradigm every now and then, but I’m damn sure not waxing intellectual about my life on an airplane to everyone around me, am I?

Chhrrrrt (the sound of white noise before a pilot speaks on the intercom) Yes, heeeelllloooo folks, we’re cruising comfortably at 37,000 feet and we’ll be beginning our decent in a few minutes towards Los Angeles. (thirty seconds of pause) Its abbbbouuuutttt, we’ll, lets call it partly cloudy…Nice out there…Then he says something that always makes me laugh, “We’ve enjoyed having you aboard this Sun Country flight.” Is that really true? I never even saw the pilot, hiding in his little cockpit flying through the clouds…what of our experience was he even aware of? Did he know that my right ass cheek was falling asleep from the lack of padding in seat 12C? No, probably not. Maybe I think that he wasn’t a pleasure at all…perhaps he should have talked more, or annunciated his words better. Would it kill him to sing show tunes as we descended?

It made me think of a funny moment, part of my cynicism making sure to interrupt a perfectly reasonable moment. I thought about how funny it would be to hear the radio in the background as the pilot made his useless announcements. “Yes hello folks we are descending [over the radio: OH MY GOD! YOUR WHEEL FELL OFF] umm, heh, well that’s embarrassing. Hang on folks, I’ll be right back.” It made me think of the people on that Jet Blue flight where the nosegear failed to translate correctly and was fixed and locked in the wrong position. The people on board actually found out about it from CNN playing on their headrest monitors. Can you imagine a more freaky moment? As you’re sitting there thinking, poor bastards, you become to realize, that you’re the poor bastard!

I suppose the only thing freakier could be if the pilot decided to have a World War II flashback mid-air and came on the radio screaming “WHO WANTS TO DO A BARREL ROLL!!”

Ah, hell…that’d be fun.

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