Life-Love #17: The first step off the airplane

Air travel is, in many ways, a mind-bending activity. You enter the airport from your departure city, in-tune with its unique rhythm and its texture. Scenes and sounds from the day ricochet around your mind as you settle into the departure lounge with your coffee or tea and glance, perhaps furtively, at the other passengers while you await the boarding call. The moment comes, and often you’re surprised by the tinny, other-worldly nature of the very human looking attendant as you see her holding the mic up and calling your row. You get up and pull your passport out, putting your thumb in at the right page and holding your boarding pass until the attendant, now speaking in her earthly voice, checks it against her manifest. After that you spend a few hours of cocooned transport in the strangely sanitary airplane tube. The muffled white noise of the air conditioning and the plane’s engines erases your sense of place and lulls you to sleep. Finally the pilot announces that you’re landing and you drowsily collect your bags, in the stunned silence that seems to reign at the end of most flights. You look out the porthole and see an indistinct new scene – different plants and trees – maybe some palm trees, if you’ve gone south. Then the door opens and you step out of the sterile cocoon of the plane and back into reality. The smells and sounds and feel of the air seems exotic and you feel a sensory rush as your body struggles to catch up with the overload of changes it has to process. You’ve arrived at your new destination, crossed thousands of kilometers in a matter of hours. Suddenly your day – maybe even your life – seems full of possibility and adventure.

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