Stuck in the Middle!

How this giant, metal tube even makes it airborne is a mystery in the first place, but equally mysterious is how fellow passengers can for hours of motion and constant white noise be content to keep window shades down, eyes glued to phones, and be silent except for the momentary few mumbled syllables deemed necessary when trying not to step on each other while edging bodies into these narrow aisles and hard cushioned excuses for seats.

How can the people around me on both sides of the aisle be content with taking off and hurtling through the atmosphere without glimpsing the world outside? A mystery. But also, an irritation for the powerless one in the middle. No control. Penned in. Victim of turbulence, exercising blind faith that we are really flying and not in a fake simulator, part of some grand experiment—or hoax.

To top it off, having to wear a mask accentuates the feeling of claustrophobia—trapped side to side, front to back by non-communicative people, also hidden behind their masks. Does no one like clouds at 33,000 feet anymore? Does no one like to check now and again to make sure the engines are still attached to the wing? With no view to the big, wide world, how am I supposed to know what part of the USA I am going to crash into should this turbulence continue to shake the metal bolts apart that hold this tube together? How will I know the correct time to start a rousing verse of “Abide with Me” if I have no visual cues as to our elevation?

But here I sit in the middle, the squishing, you-don’t-deserve-an-armrest middle, nose running, face hot, eyes staring straight ahead at the pixelated screen with a black and white cartoon jet making ever so slow progress on the line from Dallas / Fort Worth to LAX. I accepted the sugary soda and the dry, round pretzels from the anonymous attendant not because the meagre offerings would assuage my hunger, but just for an excuse to take off my mask and breathe the recycled air more freely.

Interesting that: The miracle of covid is such that if you eat the junk food offerings without a mask, you are afforded an uncanny measure of protection from all things viral. It’s like a pretzel force field descends while you munch, or why else would our all-knowing handlers allow it? Of course, none of it makes any sense.

Once finished, the mask has to go on again, or you will be firmly reminded that the force field has been lifted, making everyone once again vulnerable. It apparently has a short shelf life. Again, I slip into the cone of silence, those on either side still staring at their phones, all windows closed tight in the steely, grey cabin light.

Footnote:

On the long flight home, once again I ended up in the middle. The person by the window slept and snored on taxiing, slept and snored on take off and ascent. He was so out of it, I decided to risk lifting the window shade by him. He never stirred except for his vigorous exhalation, so I enjoyed my cloudy view over his inert body for many aerial miles. Some time later with the rising of the sun, he woke up briefly to notice his shade was up. He slammed it down with vigor and went back to snoring. Of course, I looked straight ahead and said not a word; though I was formulating a lie in my head about the naughty attendant who had possibly desecrated his space.

Next time I need to take a long trip, I am going by car where I can always be guaranteed a window seat and plenty of leg room.

Beep Bleep

My life is full of beeps.

The toaster beeps, starting and finishing;

the microwave beeps;

the new dryer has a honking grating beep when done;

my phone beeps–even in the middle of the night, warning me to look out for a bad person driving a whatever (Excuse me, I was asleep, not on the freeway!);

the fridge that came with the house is grand, but it too beeps if I leave the door open too long;

our new van has all manner of beeps–the seat belt alert, the front and back warning (You are getting closer, closer, TOO CLOSE!); and even though a car is not in the lane beside, it seems to know that the car beyond is considering speeding up, so BEEP, don’t make a move!

Our toothbrushes, razors, and other little rechargeable do-dads beep when getting low on battery and when charging is complete, and

with all the troubles, I have come to feel like the whole world is getting ready to give one massive beep.

Under my covers I go.

Back Again . . .

I haven’t posted for awhile since WP logged me out somehow, and with all the craziness in our lives right now, I couldn’t remember my password! Oy!

We have dismantled our house and loaded a container in preparation for a move to Texas. Things are moving slowly with too many hiccups to count, so we are living bare bones.

But once we move, hopefully I will have new flora and fauna to fill up my pages.

Hope you all are enjoying the approach of summer and living covid free!

A Bit of This About That

A Facebook friend posted an article link in which the writer very methodically went down a list of why people post certain things on FB (and by extension, I would assume, any social media) and what was wrong with all of that. It got me thinking.

There was much in it I could agree with–kind of, sort of. Some folks need approval and only post to get it. (Don’t forget the LIKE button down below.)

Others have no community–read that, no life–and so have high hopes that with a lot of FB or blog friends they will somehow find that sense of belonging they crave. This author would have you abandon that “shallow” quest in order to search out real flesh and blood friends and family (or stay home and sulk if you don’t happen to have any close by). I have, I must admit almost unfriended my faraway siblings for not LIKING my FB life, but blood is thicker than ambivalence–I think. That’s a real sulk.

It is true, as the author rightly points out, that folks often share too much personal information and / or pictures of mangled pets or stitches on a bloody incision. I will be very happy not to see one more healing wound or bug bite or even a bloody slab of prime rib with baked potato! Vegan moment! The meat, not the potato (but perhaps guilty by association since it had sour cream on top).

But what was ironic is that the commentary is a blog posted on the Web and linked to others on other social media sites. Maybe not hypocrisy, but certainly a disconnect there.

I think Web life might be the world we live in now.

Is conversation over coffee in an intimate coffee shop that plays old black and white movies in the corner with soft jazz piped through the system a better environment for fostering relationship? Probably. But can’t we have a both / and without being accused of sacrificing the sacred cow of what is supposedly real.

For some, the Internet offers a broader horizon to find folks of common (or uncommon) mind here, there, and across the world. For others, it might make far flung loved ones seem not too far flung as we share pictures and jokes and health tips.

And there might be that voyeurism thing.

Does social media have its problems. Sure. But most of that has to do with you driving into my lane on the freeway as you update your status.

Unless the apocalypse comes sooner than later, social web connections are here to stay. There is value in all of it as long as we find a balance with what is real and accessible and what is just safe fun–and as long as we don’t post any more extracted teeth.

(Don’t forget the LIKE button. I like to have an audience because I am needy. Or not.)