Thursday, September 8, 2011

Airplanes ARE Amazing!

You're probably thinking, "For someone who hates to fly so much, she sure posts a lot of pictures taken in airplanes." I know, it's a little weird. But here's the thing: I've been spending a lot of time in airplanes lately, and I'm trying to work through all my issues about flying. And I think perhaps blogging about it is somewhat therapeutic for me.

Anyway, this is a picture that I snapped from my window seat on my most recent plane ride--a return trip form the Midwest, where my husband and I were visiting with our daughter-in-law and her two adorable offspring. It was taken when we were in descent mode (which I like way, way better than take-off mode), not long before we landed safely at Logan Airport in Boston. As much as I dislike the whole flying process, I must admit that it is kind of amazing that on a flight that covered over 1100 miles in just 3-and-a-half hours, I'd sipped hot coffee and munched on Biscoff cookies, and even watched a Woody Allen movie called "Midnight in Paris" (which was much better than I thought it would be)--all while sitting in a comfy adjustable chair 30,000 feet above the ground. People all around me surfed the internet on their iPads while sitting in chairs 30,000 feet above the ground. Most people take such things for granted these days; but imagine how amazed our ancestors would have been by such a cushy ride just 100--or even 50--years ago.

Thinking about my flight, I am reminded of a Louis C.K. comedy bit that I saw on YouTube awhile back (and you can still catch it if you haven't yet). Louis C.K. is a comedian about whom I know very little, and I suspect that he's probably much too inappropriate in his stand-up act to suit my taste. But he did a very funny segment on Conan O'Brien's show a couple of years ago called "Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy." In this bit, he contends (and rightly so) that we live in an amazing world; but he says that it's wasted on a "generation of just spoiled idiots." He reminds us that not that long ago, we had to dial heavy rotary phones (remember those?)--and hated it when friends had too many zero's in their phone numbers!--whereas today, we have cell phones that make phone calls unbelievably effortless, convenient, and quick. We have a plethora of modern conveniences, he says, yet people complain whenever they encounter the least bit of inconvenience.

It's when he talks about flying, though, that I think this guy is funniest. Louis C.K. says he can't believe it when people tell their "horror stories" about being inconvenienced on a flight. As far as delays and such, he has no sympathy. When you can make it from NY to CA in 5 hours, he says, that's amazing. "It used to take 30 YEARS," he quips, "and people died along the way!" He's completely unsympathetic when a person who's had to sit on the runway for 40 whole minutes before his flight was cleared for take-off whines, "It was the worst day of my life!" He says he wants to shout at them, "DID YOU FLY INCREDIBLY THROUGH THE AIR, LIKE A BIRD?! DID YOU PARTAKE IN THE MIRACLE OF HUMAN FLIGHT?!...IT'S AMAZING!" How true that is! He goes on, "Everybody on every plane should be screaming 'WOW!' You're sitting in a chair--IN THE SKY!"

I guess I'm one of those "just spoiled idiots," since I've stubbornly refused to grab onto the idea that flying is the greatest thing since sliced bread. (If you've read this blog before, you know how much I dread flying.) But I really should get on the bandwagon, because the bottom line is this: without air travel, there is no way I would have been able to visit my twin granddaughters, who currently live halfway across the country, 4 times already since their birth on June 2. This is what I must focus on when I feel nervous during take-offs: that without the miracle of human flight, I probably would have seen my granddaughters only in photos thus far. Yes, I suppose airplanes are amazing!

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