There was a time not so long ago when flying was an adventure and not a task. It was a time when the world seemed less complicated and the opportunities greater than now.
Maybe that is because when you are younger and have fewer responsibilities you set limits based upon how your actions might impact others. You go out and “do” without the same concerns because what, who and how you “do” only impacts you.
As you walk down the path you set ahead you make choices about how you choose to handle those responsibilities and determine what to accept and when to make an exception.
What you can’t see when you are younger is that sometimes life experience is what makes it possible for the dreams of your youth to intersect with the reality of the future.
We were seated near the back of the plane on a flight back to the states from overseas. Ann had the window seat on the flight out so I had it on our return. We held hands on take off and stared out the window and watched as the land grew distant and the clouds drew closer.
Lost in our own thoughts about the trip we sat in silence and did our best to get comfortable. We followed our usual plan to stay awake for the first food service. The idea was that shortly thereafter the cabin would grow quiet and it would make it easier to sleep.
Ann ordered a Coke and I got a Ginger Ale. We made the usual comments to each other about how water would do a better job of keeping us hydrated and laughed. It was part of an old joke tied into a lecture an older couple had given us on the best way to travel. The two of them had spent forty minutes jawing at us about how their tips would make us less likely to fight and more likely to have a good time.
That is part of the beauty of flying. There is a moment where you look outside and feel weightless and another when you realize that you are trapped in a flying tin can with people you don’t want to talk to or spend time with.
Midway through their lecture Ann said she was tired and put her head down on my shoulder to go to sleep. Just before she closed her eyes she flashed a smile at me and stifled a giggle.
Our teachers didn’t miss a beat, they told her to sleep well and kept jabbering at me about all of the flights they had been on.
And because my girl has a great sense of humor she chose not to put her head on my shoulder to go to sleep. No, she raised the armrest and put her head in my lap. One hand fell on my thigh and god only knows where the other one went to.
Mr. and Mrs. Oblivious kept talking and underneath that blue airplane blanket Ann’s hand kept moving lazily but never quite to where I obviously wanted it to be.
I will never forget how at one point the Oblivious twins both told me that I had to stop squirming because “all that moving around will make it impossible for her to sleep.”
Eventually they stopped talking and a good deal later on Ann made up for all that teasing. Come to think about it that is probably why thinking about those people makes me smile, but I am just guessing.