It occurs to me that traveling is a great leveler. The business man must take off his shoes and often his jacket, just like the casual traveler.
But I do still like flying. I like the growing speed down the runway—the moment when the friction of the tarmac gives way to the friction of the air, and one is airborne—doing the impossible. Heavier than air flying. I like watching the earth disappear beneath. The people, cars, buildings growing ever smaller.
In Boston, one often heads out to sea before turning back to head inland towards one’s destination, so one is nearly in the clouds before being over land.
Out of Kansas City we are over farmland. The tiny cows dotting square or nearly square fields. On a Sunday afternoon the cars are sparse on the great bows of highways. The river—Missouri probably though it seems small, snaking through the farmland. All of the metaphors are taken. I think about how none of those people in cars know that I am looking at them. That all those houses contain families and individuals with sorrows and happiness, frustrations, illnesses, hopes, plans. I have always disagreed with Tolstoy. I think all unhappiness is very similar—as is all happiness. What brings the unhappiness or happiness may vary. What is intolerable to one may be fine to another, but the sensation in the human body is the same. The giddiness, the punch in the gut, the tickle in the eye, the constriction in the throat. The same through time. That’s why the metaphors are taken—it’s all been lived, been done.
What I did find on this trip and on the last few I’ve made was a increase in neurosis which never bothered me before. I find myself a little more aware of the impossible condition of a multi-ton piece of metal hurling through the thin air. Why do we not fall out of the sky? Why do the multitude of things which must be checked go right most of the time and planes not crash on take off or landing.
And, flickeringly—what if there is someone on board who is mad? What if this flight too is destined to be used as a weapon? What will I do—will I have time to do anything? Will I "step up" or will I be a coward?