New York Part 1: Monday 9th April 2012

So I’m on the plane. Sat next a friendly Arabic girl. We talked about Wales, pharmacy and what to do in NY.

Then she moved away. I don’t blame her. The plane is half empty. It might be more that when she said to me: “I’m crazy scared of flying”, all I could say in response was “Well, that’s a completely rational fear. You’ve just strapped yourself to a rocket that’s an errant goose away from disintegration. If you weren’t worried by that, that would be crazy.” She didn’t say anything else. Minus one for attempting jokes based on people’s mortal fears. But to me, that is a rational thing to worry about. But they want to stay in the air, don’t they? That’s what I’ve heard – the plane wants to keep on flying.

Usually when I fly, I try to take the window seat. I do this more out of habit, than for the view. I mean, what’s the view? Whether you’re flying to Hong Kong, Miami or the Antarctic, fluffy white clouds are fluffy white clouds. I find myself staring at the engines, and the wings, and unlike that cloud sheet, the wings and engines move. Flex and stretch and seem just ready, at a too hefty gust to sheer off. “Goodbye! I hope the right side treat you better.” I am transfixed, hands gripping the armrest, face pressed against the glass, eyes searching past the ice build up to those mocking, flappy wings. “It’ll be alright.” I tell myself. I mean, if her there with the red dress and the too high high heels isn’t worrying, if she isn’t baby giraffing her way down the galley then all is within normal operating procedures.

I didn’t used to be scared of flying. I don’t think I am now. I still love the idea of it as much as when I was a kid and wanted to be a pilot. Just I think in images more than I used to and the rocket-tube-goose-strike-obliteration one stays with me.

Now the wings are still. The engines are droaning, reassuringly. The too high heels are level. We’re going to be ok. The clouds are there as usual, an endless field of rolled out cauliflower.

The man behind me has a had a Bloody Mary, two red wines, a Miller light and fully three bags of prezels. What a hero. These Swedes, eh?

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