Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Plane Community

A weird sort of little community forms on a long trip. Sure, it’s true of car trips, bus trips, train trips, but it’s most certainly the case on those journeys that have you flying at 30,000 feet in a big ol’ tin can. You’re trapped – usually for good and exciting reasons, but trapped nonetheless - for hours on end over the United States or the Pacific Ocean or in my case over the Atlantic Ocean and the continent of Africa with hundreds of strangers. And so, a community forms.

Even if you’re not a chatty plane-talker, you bond in a strange way with the tall guy in the wheat-colored linen suit who walks up and down the aisle to stretch his legs. Or the grandmother with her two granddaughters in non-stop conversation in the row behind you. Or the flight attendant who brings you bottles of water and hand-freshening towels.

Maybe it’s necessary to feel community, especially in an airplane. Such a ubiquitous yet fragile form of transportation - and the worst possible thing could happen any moment. So we’re all in this together. At least for the next two hours. Or nine. Or seventeen.

Then. Phhhfffftt! We land safely in Los Angeles or London or Johannesburg, and the plane community disappears into the landscape, only to reform differently next time.


Tamar said...

Bon Voyage up there in plane land!

Yzerfontein said...

Great blog!! I'm on regularly Cape Town - Johannesburg flights, the sense of community is more felt on the longer flights, but give one a 3 week trip on a ship for plenty of community feel!

MaryB said...

Thanks, Tamar and yzerfontein. Landed safe and sound. Woke up early this morning to the sound of birds right outside my window. (Haven't heard birds for a while in NYC.) I look forward to finding time to explore my surroundings - very exciting!

Elsie said...

Glad you arrived safely. And birds chirping, too! Music to your ears, I'll bet. (We'll be hearing them in the northeast soon, Mary. It's almost spring.)

Explore some for me, too, please. Always wished I could see that part of the world. I'm truly excited for you. And please take lots of photos to share with us. I'll live vicariously.

Winston said...

That post is actually quite good. What were you drinking when you wrote it?