You are on page 1of 2

1 Friday, March 31, 2006 Continental Flight ____ IAH to DCA Going to visit Thysson at George Washington University.

Ilon and Petur, having skied Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckinridge for the last week or so, drove down to Boulder Thursday evening, to be ready to take an early morning flight to get us somewhere near Washington, D.C. We decided against 11:59 p.m. and 2:35 a.m., and 6:10 a.m., passed up the opportunity to fly straight to D.C. on Frontier, for the chance of getting first class seats on Continental, through Houston. It did not work. Both planes were full up front, and the Houston to D.C. leg was packed to the gills with nothing more than middle seats in the back, the ones left for us, the freeloaders and the peons. IAH to D.C., depart at 1 p.m., arrive DCA (Ronald Reagan National Airport) 4:59 p.m. Both the Denver to Houston and the Houston to DCA leg are not 3 hours, but 2 hours 59 minutes… Vodka and Tonic makes the time easier. It is the second flight of the day, and my body takes some umbrage to the restrictive nature of its confinement. Years of practice make it a kind of forced meditation period. Contemplation of odd ankle positions, the novelty of keeping both arms tight to my sides to avoid interaction with my starboard and portly seatmates, appreciation of the flow of fountain pen ink on the yellow mini legal pad that is the properly sized medium on which to opine and to playas the South and the Midwest pass beneath us. A trip just short of three hours, 2:59, like our trip from Denver to Houston was just short of two hours, 1:58. Maybe it is an airline policy never to admit that any flight is an even two or an exact three hours. There are stranger policies to be found in the air, like the one that says no one dies inflight. Knowing it is just a vast amount of work to die as you fly over competing jurisdictions, especially foreign ones, the airlines don’t let you die aboard their moving airplanes. If you stop breathing over the Atlantic Ocean, you will be resuscitated. You will have died at your destination, thus avoiding a great bureaucratic nightmare for you, who no longer cares, and the airline company, which does. The working parts of this airplane are cleverly disguised by layers of insulation and artifice, pleasant colors and reassuring flight attendants. Their attendance among us is a gift of flight. There is little perceived movement as we fly along, and the pilots make extraordinary efforts to avoid the very thought of turbulence. They even recite the weather data pilots are so eager to convey in tones of preternatural calm, as if the vehicle they are guiding are not, in fact, teetering always on the brink of a high altitude stall, or an engine flameout.

2 All the crewmembers act as if they truly believe that the effects of hitting the ground like a dart after falling from 35,000 feet can be countered easily by fastening one’s seat belt low and tight across one’s lap.