Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I love flying.  

I hate -- HATE, HATE, HATE!!!! -- the night before a flight: the stress of leaving my family, writing little notes and sewing sock puppets at 2am (yes, I'll post pics when I get back),sorting through piles of clothes, packing your life into little baggies and too-small compartments, having to actually CHOOSE outfits in advance, which always makes me feel claustrophobic in some way - constraints on my freedom - loss of free choice...

what if I change my mind? 

what if I'm not in that mood? 

and how, in God's name, can I leave any shoes behind?

But then I'm at the airport, and I invariably find it all to be surprisingly calming when I have to travel somewhere by myself (emphasis here).  Something about being alone, though, amongst a sea of strangers, the anonymity of it all, the disconnectedness, feeling free of any social or familial obligations.  I don't know exactly.  

And I tend to feel really confident when I travel -- despite whatever shit I happen to be going through at home because, well, because these people don't know me.  They don't know any of my faults, can't catalogue my insecurities -- hell, I can be whomever I choose to be.  So, I walk around feeling really self-assured and can see in the faces of others that I'm obviously projecting.  But not that bitchiness that I know you're thinking I'm referring to (Elise!).  It's something else, I think.  Because, evidently, I'm very approachable.  

Men and women.  Old and young.   Speaking varying degrees of English and needing assistance.  Everyone seems to think it's okay to talk to me -- that my personal space forcefield has been temporarily disabled -- that I'm at their personal disposal.  And the most surprising part is that I'm uncharacteristically not so annoyed.  

People are always so kind and really helpful to me.  With the lifting of my fashion-sans-function bags into the overhead, and with the changing of seats if I'd prefer the window or aisle that day, and with my always taking up way too much space with all my accoutrements overflowing onto the seat next to me.  

I never end up sitting next to the woman who's coughing up a lung, or just won't shut up about her aching corn-adorned feet, which of course she must reveal during the course of conversation , or the man who drools while his head falls on your shoulder as he naps, or the obsessive networker with no impulse control or ability to self-censor.  I almost never get the annoying child kicking my seat  - and the few times that I have, I've had no problem standing up and turning around to ask him directly to stop when his mother chooses to ignore it (which works like a charm, by the way).

But, for whatever reason, I seem to have pretty good travel karma.  And my faith in humanity, trite as that sounds, is temporarily restored.  Or else it's just that the flight attendants have been especially generous with my vodka tonics these days.

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