Getting There

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 8 December, 2005 at

[1/9/08 Note: after originally composing this post, I decided it would serve better as a comment on this post. Now it’s here again.]

I have been wanting to address some of the comments that I’ve gotten, because I really do no think that we are all on the same page here.

Let me tell you why I hate flying. I am 6’2. I do not fit in an airplane seat. I once had to literally sit at an angle in my seat because the length of my leg from hip to knee was greater than the distance between the back of my seat and the one in front of me. That is obviously an extreme example, but the best airplanes are not much better. I have a problem with my calves being constantly sore, and I prefer to stretch my legs out whenever I am seated, which is obviously impossible on an airplane. On some airplanes, I even have to duck to avoid hitting my head on the television monitors when walking down the aisle.
Furthermore, I can not do anything when I am on an airplane. I always take things to read, often a journal to write in, and my laptop, but when I am actually on the airplane, I find it impossible to focus. All I can do is watch some movie that I most likely would not have chosen myself, try to get some kind of restless sleep, or just sit there for hours and hours.

In the past year, I have had a seven hour layover in a foreign country, I have lost a personal item in travel, I have been delayed by striking ground workers, missed a flight, been searched twice at the same airport because the first guy did not stamp my ticket, had to pay an obscene amount of money to spring my car from airport parking, changed my ticket to a different airport at the last minute, and had my favorite pen leak all over my pants pocket.*

So, if I hate flying so much, you ask, why on earth do I keep doing it? Why do I not just sit at home and surf the internet, or whatever else I enjoy so much? I get on airplanes so that I can see my mother one last time, or go to her memorial service. I do it to spend time with what’s left of my family at Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

There is a certain type of Hollywood movie that is always trying to convince us that the journey is more important than the destination; that you need to take charge of your life, and do what is right for YOU. The corporations are also telling us to indulge ourselves, or that you need to invest in you, because YOU”RE WORTH IT. It’s easy to forget that Hollywood is in the business of making things up, and that corporations are in the business of selling us things that we don’t need.

So it’s not always about enjoying the ride. Sometimes the destination really is more important than the journey.

*[Within a month of writing this, due to heavy storms, I spent 25 hours in George Bush International Airport in Houston and made it my New Year’s Resolution not to fly anywhere in the next year. Which I did not keep, by the way.]

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