Yesterdays were weird. I know, I said yesterdays and that doesn't seem right but neither does physically being in an airplane for 14 hours only to travel a mere four hours on paper. International flight is one of the most intimate simulacrum of time travel we can experience. It's amazing and mind-boggling and unfamiliar and hard to sleep through, but it's happening on top of the fact that we can be anywhere in the world in 24 hours by floating through space in a metal tube! I know that last sentiment my be a rip-off of a Louie C. K. bit, but that's okay because I want you to be channeling that kind of acknowledgment of the wonders of the world we often take for granted.
Because people watching is an inevitable product of this whole experience as well, you get to see how people deal with the spectacle of flight in an almost stream of consciousness flow. It's pretty intense really. It's the best place possible for it. People coming and going, from all over the world, constantly refreshing and dashing and meandering to their next destination. There should be a magazine dedicated to it. One of my favorite games to play is trying to figure out whether a person is traveling to their destination or coming home from their wild adventures. I like trying to read a sense of adventure and excitement through subtle interactions. The bubbly way a group of Korea-bound English travels clump together like frogs eggs is a thick tell, but watching something like the way a woman pauses from reading her book just to stare into the ether is a fun thing to unravel.
Two days ago our flight from Chicago to Seoul/Incheon was cancelled due to maintenance issues. That's something that's never happened to me before. It's a bit like the opposite of waiting for a snow day I suppose. The pristinely manicured woman stands at the gate desk and announces that in two hours we should know more about our predicament. We immediately start to spin tales and predictions about what will happen in exactly the same way, as a child, I got all of a sudden interested in weather systems when there was a whiff of school being canceled. "Well, I've heard these kind of things are normal. Just a product of Asian meticulousness," One man rattles. "Here they go, stringing us out probably over some minor issue," another woman answers. It's strange. I want to agree, and I want them to fix the issue and keep us on the path to our final destination, but I have a strong feeling that it won't be fixed and we'll have to go to plan B.
We did. And some folks snapped. One man in particular, Kelsie and I dubbed, Stripey Shirt for obvious reasons, had a very difficult time dealing with it. At one point he was in such a tizzy as another passenger tried explaining what may be going on, Stripey Shirt attacks him and blames this random fellow for the issues of the day. I stepped in and diverted his anger, but he continued ranting and raving at everyone. I can only feel that that man lost his wonder over travel. He may have forgotten how incredible it is to be flying at all. Or maybe he was headed to his dying fathers side and every moment in this ugly terminal meant the loss of a chance to build a stronger connection during life. In the same way I'll never know the outcome of my game--if someone is coming or going--I'll never know what twisted that fellow all out of sorts, causing him to look like a total ass. Maybe this is my pilot article for Airplane Folks monthly. Maybe this is just me rambling. I'm not sure, but it's all part of the adventure and I'm loving it.