08 September, 2008

Ten Hours of Staring

I wonder what my flight will be like on the 19th. I remember my red eye flight over there last fall and how I sat next to a balding, chubby man that I suspected of being very high at the time of takeoff.

The flight was almost ten hours long, over night (which in coach means you spend the nighttime hours making desperate promises to some deity that you will forever be a good person if he/she will only allow you a few hours of comfortable rest), and the plane was particularly loud. I brought my DSlite, a book my boyfriend got me, a mini-pillow, and a sketchbook. This man next to me brought absolutely nothing. Not a magazine, not a book, not a piece of paper, nothing...

He spent the entire ten hour flight staring at his hands with a look of utter amazement. First he'd examine the back of his hands, no doubt counting lines and following their paths around to the front of his hands, which he'd then stare at until he flipped them back again. His childlike fascination led me to believe that he was in fact watching the rise and fall of vast empires of little hand-dwelling germs. The pretty lights and goings-on of this tiny civilization must have kept his attention rapt for the entire ten hours that I was fussing in my seat trying to find a position that would lend itself to sleep, and still allow my subversive glances at my seat-mate to see if he was still in fact counting his pores.

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