Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not making a goal--for other goals

I find that I still like flying, but that I like traveling less. If I packed lighter—felt I needed less accoutrements to be content—like this laptop for instance, I might enjoy it more. But the security difficulties make traveling more of a headache than it used to be.

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?

It doesn't stop me from getting on the plane, but it worries me that the worries are growing.

In the hotel I feel more "skeevie." Scare journalism at it's finest. Are these sheets clean? Is the bathtub? Why am I always in the "murder room." And this is true in the $229 room as well as the $50 room.

On this trip I even had a few moments of fear of heights--which I never have. It plagues my husband.

This is the center courtyard of my hotel from the 19th floor.

This was fine. The odd moment was riding up to the Pinnacle Room--a rotating banquet room on the top of the hotel. Riding up for a moment you were outside--looking at Nashville from the 26th story. But going down was worse--you passed through the roof and suddenly it felt as if you were free falling when you reentered the hotel.
That's it for now--I won't get 25 posts in by midnight tomorrow.
The rest of the trip may be as stream as consciousness as this.

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