Onboard story


Usually, on a plane, I sleep. It is my way of keeping flight anxiety at bay. I’m not terribly afraid of flying. Only a little bit. I like looking out the window, but then I see other planes and wonder if they are really at least a mile away. Or if I look at the ground too much, I wonder what the plane would auger into if it crashed, how many more lives would be touched than just the friends and relatives of those on board. And I’m never at rest over the ocean. I understand that logically the rates of surviving a crash mid-air are probably no different over land than over the ocean, but I worry about not really knowing how to swim. If I’m seated near a window, then I wonder if that is really ice that is accumulating on the wings, or if the flaps are really supposed to do whatever they are doing at the moment. And I wonder why on earth they need to paint “DO NOT STEP” warnings on the wings.

So, mostly I sleep.

Only occasionally do I read, but I can’t seem to keep up with reading a novel at 500 miles per hour. A diversion, sometimes, but usually only when waiting to leave the gate, is to look at the SkyMall magazine. I play a game with my cousin C where we cut out the most ridiculous ad we can find and send it to the other with threats to purchase for the next gift occasion. But, for the last year, the only contender has been the plastic Big Foot peaking out coyly from behind a tree. Even the jaded can’t find anything to poke fun at in Sky Mall anymore.

Last week, on a flight from New York to Chicago, I fell asleep before we left the runway. I didn’t look out the window and bid the Big Apple adieu, and I didn’t worry about those geese in the marshes at the end of the runway, or worry that we might land in Long Island Sound. However, I didn’t sleep for long, just long enough to miss the beverage service and stale peanuts, waking up as Cleveland was probably appearing on the horizon off the starboard.

Too lazy to climb over my seatmate to get to my bag for a book, I reached for the seatback pocket magazine. Although it was only the 4th, both October Sudoku puzzles had been worked. I’m not very good at them anyway. So I started to page through Spirit magazine, Southwest’s inflight magazine. I was completely taken with their main feature, Storytelling.

I’m working on my own story this evening, one that’s due for a workshop review tomorrow. While I’m struggling with my storytelling adventure, enjoy looking at Spirit’s storytelling. While the website has two great videos — the Nokia Shorts 2011 film “Split Screen: A Love Story” that went viral for about a minute a few months ago, and a moving music video “Copenhagen” by the marvelous Lucinda Williams — you really should download the PDF version, available via link at the bottom of the page, to see the entire spread from the magazine. The typesetting was great. The storytelling, even better.

Here is the Williams video:

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3 responses to “Onboard story

  1. Nobody would want to be near me on a 12 hour flight. But, since I don’t have the luxury of being able to afford that, I usually sleep. Last international flight I took, the man seated next to me jumped over me several times. It was a bit unnerving waking up to see him standing on his seat about to make his jump. I avoid those screens — they show you when you are over water!

  2. I’ve always found flying a good opportunity to read – until the advent of the individual screen on the seatback in front of me. I can’t resist all the movies and TV shows on offer; a twelve-hour flight can just zip by, while I watch instead of sleeping to avoid jet lag.