old (2006), Uncategorized

fear and loathing in small planes

I bought my plane ticket for South Carolina last night… then realized in horror – selecting my seats after the purchase – that three of the four segments are on commuter planes (20 rows or less). The last time I flew on a commuter plane, I swore I’d never do it again… I went from Chicago to Poughkeepsie, the last leg being a jaunt from D.C. I sat by the wing and it was so scary I didn’t think I’d make it to the airport alive. It’s odd, really, since I’m not afraid of heights, roller coasters, fast cars, or other sorts of thrill-inspiring contraptions.

Somehow The Small Airplane is one thing that terrifies me… and now I have to experience it three times within five days. I should be happy that I got a great deal to Charleston, and I am, but it’s tempered by this fear… but, also, I can look at this as a way to get over myself, right? Still, it was with supreme irony that when I was taking B. to the doctor this morning (hello, pink-eye!) I heard “At the Bottom of Everything” by Bright Eyes (lyrics below) on the radio… enjoy chuckling at my cowardice… I know I am.

So there was this woman and she was on an airplane, and she was flying to meet her fiancé high above the largest ocean on planet earth. She was seated next to this man… she had tried to start conversations, but the only thing she had really heard him say was to order his Bloody Mary.

She was sitting there and she was reading this really arduous magazine article about a third world country that she couldn’t even pronounce the name of. And she was feeling very bored and despondent. And then suddenly there was this huge mechanical failure and one of the engines gave out, and they started just falling thirty-thousand feet, and the pilots on the microphone and he’s saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, oh my god” and apologizing. And she looks at the man and says “Where are we going?” and he looks at her and he says “We’re going to a party. It’s a birthday party. It’s your birthday party. Happy birthday darling. We love you very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.” And then he starts humming this little tune…

…it kind of goes like this: 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4
We must talk in every telephone, get eaten off the web
We must rip out all the epilogues from the books that we have read
Into the face of every criminal strapped firmly to a chair
We must stare, we must stare, we must stare
We must take all of the medicines too expensive now to sell
Set fire to the preacher who is promising us hell
Into the ear of every anarchist that sleeps but doesn’t dream
We must sing, we must sing, we must sing
And it’ll go like this, all right:
While my mother waters plants my father loads his gun
He says, “Death will give us back to God,
Just like the setting sun
Is returned to the lonesome ocean”

And then they splashed into the deep blue sea
Oh, it was a wonderful splash

We must blend into the choir, sing ecstatic with the whole
We must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul
Into this endless race for property and privilege to be won
We must run, we must run, we must run

We must hang up in the belfry, where the bats and moonlight laugh
We must stare into a crystal ball and only see the past
Into the caverns of tomorrow with just our flashlights and our love
We must plunge, we must plunge, we must plunge

And then we’ll get down there,
Way down to the very bottom of everything
And then we’ll see it, oh, we’ll see it!, Oh, we’ll see it!, we’ll see it!

Oh, my morning’s coming back,
The whole world’s waking up
All the city busses swimming past,
I’m happy just because
I found out I am really no one