It starts pretty mundane: you and a hundred other people shuffle down a hallway and load onto a cramped metal tube, jamming your possessions into tiny bins and taking your seat next to two strangers who are no more comfortable than you. After a seemingly pointless wait the tube begins to move — like a rickety old city bus, except on only 3 sets of tiny wheels. You roll along quietly for a few minutes while a bored voice drones some instructions that no one listens to…
But then things change.
Suddenly the metal tube jumps to life. Like a race horse jumping free from the gate at the sound of a gunshot, giant engines spin until you can feel the vibrations in your chest. The whole machine surges unstoppably forward, mechanical gears whir as flaps extend and the docile ‘bus’ adapts itself for a totally different purpose.
Then, just when you think the vehicle won’t be able to sustain its own incredible power, something magical happens. You and your travelling companions leap into the air… and you don’t come down. In fact, you keep climbing higher. The whole world begins to shrink as you watch. You are flying!
Sure there are annoying parts of the experience. As I tap this out on my iPhone’s poor excuse for a keyboard, my legs are longing to stretch out straight, and I can’t get to the bathroom without squeezing my butt past the face of two strangers who probably don’t deserve such a close-up. But those things are inconsequential, because I’m in the air! In under 2 hours I’ll have traveled from New York to Chicago.
And despite the draconian security in this country, and the horror stories you hear of violated rights by airport security, I’ve always found that a genuine smile and a polite and pleasant demeanor have made the process of getting on the plane very simple. And its easy for me to come up with a genuine smile, because this is fun! I’m soaring through the air in a jet plane, sipping a tomato juice (with ice) while my iPhone reads me a book… This is a much nicer morning than one spent in my cubicle!