Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Warm Woolly Dog In Hell

I was sitting up in Miami Airport wedged in the grossly uncomfortable torture device in the waiting area for Delta Flight 891 (partnered with Australian Virgin. As attractively bizarre as that sounded I dared not ask what that meant). To my astonishment someone put a small warm woolly dog firmly up against the back of my neck. As pleasant as the sensation was I leapt out of my seat fearful of disloyalty to Cheyenne, even then being driven home and away from me. The owner of the vastly expansive head of hair was mortified, "Ohmygod," she said, "I just like to lean back." Had I been Jack Riepe I'd have seduced her with an impossibly improbable shaggy dog story and induced her to show me her breasts, as it was I got back to my book, grumpily. I don't like flying even with seductive warm woolly dogs wrapped round my neck. The plane was packed. It just got better and better.

I am not alone in thinking that traveling by commercial aircraft is a form of torture reserved for the unfortunate souls obliged to abandon the comforts of home for the uncertainties of the road. If only it were the road! Instead of finding my self on two lane blacktop with the wind in my face I am wedged in a narrow seat with a small table for a desk, permitted the joy of flight only because I agreed to remove my boots and my belt prior to shuffling aboard the tiny hurtling tube to Atlanta and later to Des Moines, with a hundred other unhappy souls, none speaking to each other or making eye contact. Dante's Seventh Circle of Hell.

Five miles below the lucky ones go about their business as they do every Sunday morning at dawn while we zip past, no more than an airborne mosquito annoyance drowning out Lynn Neary momentarily on NPR, but at 550 miles an hour we are soon gone.

Anyone who thinks I'm crazy for physically desiring to ride home at a tenth the speed, over five days not five hours is not a traveler, that's for sure. This isn't travel whatever else it could most efficiently be described as resembling.

(PS: I think the debonair flight attendant likes my pink iPad cover. "Wrong team, mate," I wanted to say to him but I haven't the heart as I overhead them talking about the three other flights they have to take today before they get to go home. And no one is pressing warm woolly dogs into the backs of their necks.)

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