Yesterday I flew on a magical metal machine called an airplane where I was transported from my home state of Montana to my native born Pennsylvania. I got in to Philly last night.
I enjoy bringing my friend mindfulness with me on travels. Practicing joy and smiling in airports, dancing to my music on the way to board a connecting flight, going with the flow of whatever comes my way instead of getting all bent out of shape, and laughing to myself about the state of mainstream affairs. We, humans that is, are all terribly amusing really.
Mindfulness is a friend that likes to travel. It doesn’t like to collect dust sitting on a shelf or only be pulled out on special occasions. Mindfulness likes getting right into the everyday places, routines, relationships and mental activities that fill our lives. Our lives are like outlined pictures in a coloring book and mindfulness is what we color the lines in with. Sure the pictures are still pictures without coloring them in but they tend to be flat and not nearly as interesting.
Tuesday January 8th
5:30am. The runway is still shrouded in darkness with single points of light in red, blue, gold and white flanking the winding paths. Our 5 gate airport is sleepy. I bought a banana for $1.00 at the coffee stand. I have no checked bags and sit cross legged at the departure gate, breath easing in and out. I can see the day of travel sprawled out in front of me. It’s going to be a good day.
9:25am. I’m typing here at 30,000 feet. An empty seat between me and my row mate aboard a Delta 757. After a rushed dash though the Salt Lake airport and a few minutes to stretch I’m in the air once again, now on my way to Detroit. I was excited to learn aboard my first flight that Delta now offers in flight Wi-Fi, once we climb above 10,000 feet. I read the very simply instructions on the card in the seat pocket in front of me and prepared to blog from high above the clouds on this longer and better lit flight. What the card failed to spell out in any clear way is that it costs money. $5.00 for one hour. However, you can shop on certain select sites for free and you can also read a few headlines in entrainment news. Yes, it is free to shop for a bunch of stuff you probably really don’t need and read about who’s having who’s baby and who cheated on what celebrity but one must pay a tidy sum of $5.00 for any real news, current events or other substantial online interaction. I think our societal priorities are askew.
I am now snacking on .42 ounces of peanuts handed to me along with an advertisement laden napkin. .42 ounces of peanuts is approximately 15 full peanuts. I am able to cup them all in one hand and pop them into my mouth. What, per say, is the napkin for? I refuse the complimentary drinks out of principle unless they give me a full can because I would rather parch myself slightly then to receive a tiny plastic cup containing 3 swigs of carbonated beverage only to send the cup bound for the landfill in under 5 minutes. And I will note here that I have never been refused a full can of pop aboard an airplane. Which means I really told you all of that to get you thinking.
Interestingly enough I was just fine and dandy waking up at 4:30am, paying $1.00 for a banana, walking briskly though the Salt Lake airport, boarding this plane, getting hit in the head with a piece of luggage someone was putting in the overhead bin, and having someone’s backside in my face while other people shuffled into their seats but when a nearby passenger began talking to her seat mate frustration welled up within me. The surroundings didn’t factor in at all to reduce her volume. Despite the fact that it was quite quiet in the cabin there she was talking incessantly about nothing really at levels that lent to everyone now knowing all about her. I don’t get the sense that the lady next to her is a traveling companion and so I felt sorry for her caught in the web of words continuously tumbling out of her and I was thankful for not having 24B as my assigned seat. As soon as I was able to put my music on I was hurriedly tucking earbuds securely in place. She has since quieted down, distracted by some Richard Gere movie dangling down from the aisle ceiling. I find myself often struggling with people who ramble, who talk and talk and seldom listen, seemingly wrapped up in their own selfish worldview. And I am also aware that I don’t know what their situation is. That despite my shallow perceptions I could be entirely mistaken.
While soaring about the clouds I feel it fitting, and time well spent, to talk about my love of the skymall magazine, which is complimentary in fight reading material showcasing an array of disjointed items for purchase. You can go from an 11 X14 framed piece on page 3 entitled: The Rules of the Man Cave for 49.99 with such words of wisdom as: Whatever happens in the man cave stays in the man cave and I will judge what is food and what is junk food to Litter Kwitter on page 39, the three step system to potty train your cat. We can then flip to page 81 to read about igrow, the space age looking helmet that can have you realizing the benefit’s of the world’s most advanced laser hair rejuvenation system – fuller looking hair in three weeks, guaranteed! All for only $695.00! And on page 86 you can finally purchase that bacon pillow you were always looking for! AND right next to that a mounted squirrel head! An embarrassment of riches I would say. Skymall is chock full of practical and attractive items interspersed with peculiar items and super overpriced crazy who in their right mind would buy this gadgets. I love Skymall because it doesn’t make sense to me. In the land of long faced travelers, tiny plastic cups, and $3 bags of m & m’s this haphazard magazine awaits every air traveler, calling to jiggle us out of our complacency. And while on some level the long faces and the tiny cups and the expensive candy also don’t make sense to me Skymall magazine doesn’t make sense in a much more enjoyable and less understandable manner.
Yesterday I woke up at 4:30am, had 2 layovers, arrived in Philly around 6:00pm, crawled to my mom’s house through 2 hours of city traffic and stayed up talking with my mom until around midnight. My legs were sore from sitting and my stomach was churning around because landings are hard on my system. The difference between a good day and a bad day is largely due to how we make up our mind. If we want to have a bad day then we’ll have a bad day. If I wanted to focus on how terrible it was to wake up early and have 2 layovers and sit in traffic and have an upset stomach then I would have had a long, awful day. But I didn’t. I woke up saying this will be a good day. And it was.