the meanest

so you can cross it off the ol’ bucket list for me: I have been in a wedding.
it’s not like I did anything special, besides look presentable in my rented suit and make nice conversation with anyone I happened to speak with. but it was fun and nostalgic, exhausting and hilarious, reflective and touching, and God bless Dawn and Phil. and there’s never enough time for all of it. ever.

but what about your flight, Matt? can’t you ramble about nursing a phobia for 500 words instead of your good friend’s wedding?
I flew in and out of Baltimore, which, despite the fortyfive minute car ride, is the best airport option for me — especially when you factor in pricing. I don’t know if you’re reading your local business page, but Southwest has apparently purchased AirTran, which from my seat in the uninformed section is a good deal for the consumer at large — and if not mister at large, then at least for me and the Washington commuter. Southwest lands at Dulles, I think, which sucks, because Dulles sucks, and at Baltimore, which is a hike. but AirTran’s miserable ass flies out of National, which is so close to everything and everyone that getting to the plane on time would no longer be a question. but as far as I know, the low, low prices haven’t started falling yet at National. so until they do, Bawlmer it is.
I hate flying. I’m assuming I’ve made note of this before, but I’ll explain here just to be thorough: I hate that shit.
I’m pretty sure I can recall the first time I flew: with Mar, going to see dad, probably December 1993. back then, it was novel and exciting to get on an airplane. it’s only gotten shittier as I’ve grown older.
it’s not just the security, the exorbant pricing, or the mad rush that accompanies any trip to the airport. no: it’s the flight itself. maybe I’ve worked myself into an early terror, I don’t know. probably I have. but I swear to god, each time the plane taxies out onto the runway, and in the silent moments before the pilot accelerates for take-off, I breathe deep and hold my breath and think this shit is unnatural. man was not meant to sit in a big aluminum can and hurdle through the atmosphere like this. the engine is going to kick off at any second. we’re gonna go through a gaggle of migrating geese. we’ll hit some sort of unexplained monolith in the middle of a cloud bank at ten thousand feet. and then we’ll all die.
but.
have you ever flown into Chicago at night? from the east coast into Midway, the plane comes in from the southeast … right over Porter County, actually, so regularly that I can pick out the landmarks and name the roads and the grid beneath me.
when you come over Chicago’s south side, the grid becomes uninterrupted, and the boulevards reveal themselves to be longer and straighter than you knew they were, and then lead north until your eyes try to tell you’re they’re coming together at a point in the distance, but not before the skyscrapers rise abruptly, like the darkest chocolate bars you’ve ever seen standing on end. the street lights bathe the city in a yellow glow, up to the edge that’s off to your right; the lake.
I have tiny crises on every flight. the night flights, especially when it’s dark, and the engines and the drag are loud enough that you’re rendered deaf and forced into solitude by the noise, and your ears start popping; when the world through the windows looks and warm and terrifying and massive and surreal. I always refuse the complimentary drinks now, because I don’t want what could possibly be my last goddamn taste to be a Coke, yet I always take the tiny bags of peanuts, because I’m difficult and skin-deep like that. and I involuntaily think about my existence, and whether I’m looking down on Youngstown or Akron or not. and about how out there, somewhere, my sister and mother or my brother or my girlfriend or Andrew are tracing a line home along the roads that look like circuits from above. and I inevitably feel awful and alone, both going and coming. I hate flying.

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1 comment so far

  1. TK on

    My beautiful glow is your terror matrix.


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