18 November 2007

Time in the Sky

I am reading and hearing reports about airline travel

and last weekend I made a trip to Florida by air. There's a good chance it was the last time I'll travel by commercial airliner.

I'm not outraged, don't have a desire to bitch and moan or start a letter-writing campaign. It's "their" thing and they can do it however they want to. But it just doesn't work for me any longer.

I can still remember my first trip on a plane. It was December 1977 and I was returning to IN after a couple of years away living in Hollywood and hitch-hiking in the West. The flight took off from Denver just before sunset. Beautiful, beautiful beyond words the sky. I remember the exhilaration of mind and body as we left the ground...fascination to see the wings of the plane dipping as we made the curve toward the east while inside the plane all was upright and level...and what to make of all these lives brought together in one airborne room!

I'd never seen America from that vantage point and something like patriotism swelled in my heart. Looking at the fields and houses and highways and malls below, I was awed to consider the hundreds of thousands of lives playing out: even as we flew over unaware, down there, someone was dying, being born, falling in love, taking a pie out of the oven, making a big mistake, reuniting, typing the last page of their first novel, looking up at a plane flying by...

Flying! What an astounding technological feat! On that day, I thought I want to fly and fly!

A few years shy of three decades and so much has changed. The worst part of every trip now is the journey itself. No more. Private plane? I'm happy to try it. I still love flying and it's the fastest means available. But airports and being crammed into a steel box with people behaving badly? No more.

Hate to be a quitter but I've had enough.
We can add "refuses to travel by commercial plane" to the list of my high-maintenance personality traits.

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed at how much of a pain it is to travel now - it use to be so exilerating and such a priveledge. Now, it's just a monster.

    I had been traveling to Maine from NOLA - mostly an 8 hour day of traveling on each end. And mostly late - making it more like 12-18 hour days of uncomfortable travel.

    I too would say "there has to be a better way" - can't these companies get it??? I also feel the guilt of the impact on the environment from that type of travel. But, a drive to Maine would take two days. And frankly, interstate travel isn't that much of a pleasure these days anymore either.

    but there we are - there are our choices - stay or go - fly or drive - groan or moan.

    my MaineMan and I broke up, so I don't need to make that trip anymore ...

    and now I gotta go respond to the other post about unconditional love ....

    peace, love and no conditions,


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