Saturday, 12 April 2008

what happened to wonder?

"I paid business class for this seat!" said the stroppy german passenger in front of me, when told he had to pay for his drink. I turned to the flight attendent and smiling said "of course: its your fault9? She was very good though and without a flicker of indignation, smilingly pretended concerned interest in his ticket stub. Havng thus been duly listened to, he settled back into the same cramped seat that I and the rest of the thirty or so other passengers are occupying on this ten foot wide flying aluminium tube. Subsequent passings of the cabin crew elicited twinkling, barely perceptible smiles to me. He was, as far as I could tell, a sarcastic arrogant ingrate, but then who am I to judge?
The large formless posterior of am american Edna Everidge was then thrust unwittingly into my face by its owner, exhibiting a huge degree of unawareness of personal space. It wasn't a very nice bottom, but nonetheless I was momentarily overcome with the urge to sink my teeth into it. Tossed between the two horms of revulsion and humour, I averted my gaze.
Outside the window, the blue of the sky exerts some kind of profound calming wistfulness in me. Something about the shade of blue of the cloudless sky goes into the brain directly, triggering some mechanism in the deepest oldest part of my humanity.perhaps it was from the association of idle musing in my earliest recollections as a pre school child on siston common as my grandparents slept a very English afternoon sleep (the only other kind of such sleep being that on a rainy saturday afternoon when BBC2 would show black and white melodramas and unwatched by my sleeping guardians, I would light little illicit fires in the grate).
I love the way that up here at, 35000 feet (as we were just told) the blue fades so seamlessly into the band of white and subsequent grey below.
On!y when I see a plane below, dteaking along at the same speed in the opposite direction, do I realise how fast we are going. 500 mph or so is about usual, so combined, our relative speeds are just on the edge of my comprehension. Walking to work wold take over two hours. By bike 30 mins. By car 16 on a good day. At 1000 mph, 36 seconds. It just about fits in my head.
And hpow we take this for granted! To the extent that old Grumpy Business-class-fool can stand up here in our fantastic machine and moan about the price of his ticket.
Wonder is so fragile. Time to land.

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