An uplifting experience

I’m typing this while taking a cross-country flight. Three thousand miles in one straight shot.

These periodica plane flights are strange experiences, not really like anything else. They start out (at least in this country) with the bizarre police-state stress test that has now become standard operating procedure. I don’t know anybody who actually believes that this whole taking off shoes and removing belts and laptops thing is more than theatre. Anybody who might actually be interested in causing us harm would have figured out by now how to do it without shoes, belts and water bottles.

Ridiculous as this pageant may be, humor is not an option. If you are foolish enough to say something that could be construed as funny, the rules say that they are supposed to send two muscular individuals in uniforms to put you in handcuffs and an orange jump suit and take you away for rendering.

Perhaps the government is doing this as a kind of stealth public service – a new kind of path to enlightenment. You see, by now we have all learned how to find within ourselves a state of zen-like calm in the face of this whole xray/security show, some inner space of deep stillness within which we can meditate and become uplifted, while removing footwear.

I wonder, now that we are exiting the Bush era, whether they are going to cut back on this Orange Alert performance art and focus on actual threats from terrorists – like the alarming number of commercial shipping containers that slip into our country each day without proper examination.

So far I get the feeling that the incoming government is less invested in figuring out clever ways to make sure we stay scared enough to follow orders unquestioningly.

Or at least I’ll continue to believe that until somebody in the Obama administration warns its critics that people should watch what they say. Remember that one? Just one of so many fond memories of the outgoing administration.

But I digress..

Once you manage to get past the government sponsored wierdness, flight really isn’t that bad. In a way the physical strangeness of it – being strapped into a little seat in a glorified tin can for six hours – is positive. I find (assuming I’ve remembered to bring little snacks and have filled my trusty bottle of water – after passing security, needless to say), that I tune out of everything around me while in flight.

Personally I find that there is something wonderful about having an entire six hours where I can make things on the computer without even the possibility of being on the internet. It’s sort of a mini-vacation from cyberspace.

There’s nothing really like it. Except, of course, for the occasional conversation with a gorgeous TV actress in the next seat…

3 Responses to “An uplifting experience”

  1. manooh says:

    I was writing parts of my thesis in trains – mostly because of the lack of Internet access. There was this great offer to get one quite cheap ticket that allowed you to ride trains all across Austria for over 2 months. So I woud hop on a train in the morning, get some work done in the train, mixed with some chit-chat and enjoying the scenery. I would visit a library in some city on the way and return back home in the evening. It was great!

  2. Lisa says:

    I’ve been traveling back and forth between London and Philly fairly regularly lately and have found that exact same zombie/zen-like calm in the face of procedures that used to annoy the hell out of me.

    Of course, now I’m a little annoyed to think that it’s been a set-up all along. Zombies are notorious uncritical thinkers.

  3. troy says:


    I had a similar observation about airport security a while back, and also felt compelled to write about it…

    I suggested that we charge by the pound, and everyone strips down naked and wear nothing but hospital gowns onto the plane to alleviate any concerns with contraband…

    All Silliness…

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