Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Eardrums & Potential at 32,000 Feet

To start, I can't hear. I can't hear anything. This is partly my fault -- I took a long and vigorous swim today and I'm woefully negligent about dribbling alcohol into my ears after I swim. It's rare that I get that insulated air bubble feeling in my ears, but this (as they say) would be one of those times.

The second reason I can't hear is that I'm sitting next to an enormous propeller shaft which is filling the small remaining part of my ears that might still be capable of perception with a sense-swaddling drone. I'd been on a different flight, but AA (Airlines, not Alcoholics) decided they couldn't hack the gas prices, so they shoveled 200 people onto a plane that was already more than half full. There's a flight attendant who has it in for me because I think I took her seat.

I don't have any great, big news. I still don't know any of the answers I've been searching for. If anything the questions are starting to multiply in captivity. Mostly right now I'm writing just so I don't have a total nutso panic attack from being so high in the air, so far from sound and sense and oxygen to comfort me. It reminds me of one of those midnight Chicago snows when every thought, every sound, every impulse is swallowed, packed in a remote box filled with white insensitive insulation. All that exists in that space is potential -- potential electrical shocks, or the potential burn of frostbite, or potential falling through an invisible shallow lake.

I can't sleep on planes precisely because of this potential. Every single second on a plane for me is the instant of standing on ice, watching a snapped telephone wire ricochet off the fossilized tree branches, closer and closer to me, waiting, unable to move for the lack of friction, waiting, waiting, waiting for the shock.


Blogger Princess Lolly said...

I love that feeling of being insulated in the snow. It's like for ONCE in the city it's calm and quiet and pretty in a postcardy way. It always makes me feel warm, no matter how real the feeling of frostbite.

But sometimes on planes I nod off and then panic, like, if I'm not paying attention we may drop from the sky. That feeling is not so much fun.

7:30 AM  
Blogger thesaurasaurus said...

I so agree. Like, "Oh my God we're still in the air! Who's driving this flying umbrella?!?" Etc.

10:01 PM  

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