18 Dec 2009 ::
I don’t have a fear of flying. At least, not in my dreams, because when I fly in my dreams, I’m never in an airplane. Never. I make like a bird, flap my arms and I fly. I’ve even been in hot-air balloons in my dreams. And that is a mind expanding experience.
What I do have is a fear of flying in a cramped, steel behemoth with hundreds of other passengers. It’s unnatural. There’s something ultimately disquieting about those massive airplanes. They perpetuate societal class structures. They are never comfortable on long journeys. Everybody’s germs circulate in the pressurized cabin. The pillows are tiny and flat. The seats are made for anorexic dwarfs. There’s no play area for the children to work off their energy rather than screaming in frustration at having to sit still. These are common complaints.
I am more distressed by the disconnect of flying. In my dreams, I can enjoy the landscape from above, but I can set down any time I like to explore, talk to locals, or rest in the shade. Not so in a real airplane. Well, yes, one does land from time to time, but airports are consumer havens, hardly a traveller’s delight.
Before jets, there was no jet lag. We had time to enjoy the journey, and even have some adventures. I do not look forward to the 13-hour trip to Hong Kong, the 4-hour wait, and the 7-hour trip to Chennai. At least on the trip home, we stop in Bangkok for three days. In any case, I plan to knock myself out with sleeping pills. The rest? I’ll have to distract myself by reading, crocheting or watching a movie. Next time, I’m taking a ship.