Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Massive F*cking Slingshots

As a fat person I find it deeply satisfying and wonderful when I get both seats in the two seat row to myself. On your left you will see a Kate, sprawled across two airline seats and enjoying it like a cat enjoying a sunbeam. Today on my flight from Atlanta to DC I got just that: a two seat row all to myself and across from me isn’t even more people, it’s the galley which I consider to be something of an upgrade. Fewer people to deal with when I’m trying to disembark is always a good thing.

So I’m flying to DC and I don’t rightly know why. Someone asked me “So what brings you to DC?” and I couldn’t really answer their question. It’s hard to explain what brings me to DC. There’s this tugging feeling I get behind my ribs that keeps telling me to go, keeps telling me DC is where I’m supposed to be so, until I can relocate permanently, I decided to hop a plane  and spend some time figuring out just why I’m so drawn to a place I’ve only visited twice. Who knows?

I meant to write something about the drive to the airport. It was frantic but the fact that it was 4AM made it strangely tranquil. The whole world outside the freeway seemed to be still and silent. I remember seeing the smoke stacks and knowing that there was a sprawling city on my left: Ciudad Juarez. I knew it was there but when I glanced over all I could see was street lamps spaced with no particular order or regularity, just random. A sprawling mass of flickering yellow lights at random intervals. It looked like the city itself was holding a vigil for all the people who die there. The hardest part is knowing that the only thing that separated the people of Juarez from a life in the United States is a river and a chain link fence. They’re so close but the difference is so stark. It always catches me off guard.

So I drove to the airport and thought about how when all the windows and houses are dark it looks like the city is a sea of candles. What’s more, in the quiet and stillness it felt like the city was mine, like I was the only person in the world to see it and enjoy it and it was there for me. This obviously isn’t true but at 4:30AM, having had no sleep, a lot of things seem perfectly logical.

After watching the street lights of two different countries flicker like a sea of candles I finally got to the airport and discovered that security has been slowed down immensely. There were two huge lines all the way from the escalators back to the main lobby, a good 200 yards. Two lines full of people. And this was just downstairs. Upstairs it was a fight for your life to get through the scanners and you knew the TSA folks weren’t happy to be there that early. I managed to survive the gauntlet and boarded my plane just in time to watch a beautiful sunrise before being flung into the clouds like a marble in a slingshot. Every time I am on a plane taking off I always imagine myself like a marble in a giant slingshot.

And here I am being flung into the clouds again only to come down in the place that has been relentless in its occupation of my thoughts and emotions for the past year and a half. We’ll see what happens.
Let’s have an adventure, shall we?

PS. I'm posting this from the plane!! In the AIR!! FLYING!!!

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