En Route

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FIRST EULOGY

Airports are kind in reminding us that in the event our plane tailspins and we crash to the ground,we will be eulogized by an airline employee. Perhaps a captain.

Who knows why the mind does what it does.

Why it plays tricks on you. Games. Undermines your own sense of reason; provides a soapbox and megaphone to the hysterical voices that usually are only whispers in your head.

Reason says airline travel is safe. Safer than driving in a car on a freeway. But your mind—mine anyway—tells me I’m sitting in a cylindrical coffin. A steel tube hurling through the air at thousands of miles an hour, defying gravity and common sense. Birds fly, metal doesn’t. What are you thinking?

But here I am. Trapped in a plane surrounded by strangers. Random faces with whom, at any moment, I will plummet to earth. I don’t know why it’s never dawned on me until now, but the prospect of dying surrounded by strangers is depressing. Who the hell are these people and why am I spending my last moments alive with them?

Of course, if we’re lucky enough not to die chances are now I have whatever vile microbes these walking disasters are carrying. Typhoid, e.coli, hanta virus? We’re thousands of feet up in the air sharing recycled air. Every germ and virus they expel through their coughs, sneezes, yawns and appallingly rude and silent flatulent becomes a part of me.

Who knows where these people have been? What filthy diseases they’ve contracted and cultivated in their  wheezy lungs? These people—these strangers— are killing me slowly and I have nowhere to run.  I’m hurling toward my inevitable death in a toxic petri dish en route to somewhere and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

But at least the white fluffy clouds are pretty. They’re sort of relaxing. Except for that one we’re moving toward. The ominous one that stands alone in the horizon. The giant mushroom shaped one that looks like the kind you would expect to see after a nuclear bomb obliterates the earth.

• • •
Monica Montano is a winner. Anyone who knows her already knows that.

However, she also happened to correctly guess (sorta) where I was at the time I posted a photo via Twitter.

Monica’s guess was “airport.” And she was right. But she would have been more right had she guessed LAX.

A few others guessed “SAN” (which I assumed was the clever use of airport code for Lindbergh Field) and “Lindbergh.”  Those answers, obviously, were wrong. Now, had someone guessed LAX or Los Angeles airport, they would have been more right than Monica and we would be celebrating their astounding powers of deduction.

Speaking of …someone with the Twitter handle CVDEMCLUB wins kudos and a possible prize for guessing Mexico City after I posted a series of pictures (again via Twitter). It was an impressive display of geographical acumen.  Wonder how they did it…

If you’re interested in playing along you can find me at Twitter here: @starnewseditor. (I think. Or you can find me by following Star-News reporter Allison K. Sampite @starnewschisme and looking for me there).