Friday, February 10, 2012

Stepping Stones for the World

The energy in the plane bustles.  I watch the attendants filter the remaining bags and passengers as families claim window seats and elbow rests.  New balances among culled allegiances buckle themselves into introductions as weary travellers fortify personal space. 

Travel is waiting in these queues, conduits and cages with people you do not know, but watch intensely.  I am at the back of the plane, with an empty row all to myself and two more behind and beside.  Domestic travel tip: When departing on early morning domestic flights wait to choose your seats upon checking in at the airport; 90% of the time the last 5 rows will be empty which means there is a good chance you will have a row all to yourself. 

Animated minutes pass and produce a sped up time-lapsed scene.  The last thing we are told is to power-down electronics before take-off.

The blond attendant with curly, frizzy hair and dark painted lips casts a shadow like a large Willow Tree.  She sways with her hands on her hips and waits for two young women to settle in their seats.   Camera’s off,  she says politely.

The two young women smile and glance at the attendant’s overwrought stance as they pass the camera back and forth one more time.  They originally spoke in English but now they use Italian to communicate. 

Ladies, the attendant says again, this time her tone is not as polite.  Please! She says firmly.  But she is still ignored. 

Ladiesss, this time she holds the s between her tongue and teeth as if her tongue is forked and curled at the end. She holds the s tightly clamped until the women put the camera down.  The attendant pauses before continuing.  As I have mentioned twice, this time piercing the air with a high pitched c which she holds in her jaw, Camera’s ... OFF.   

The surrounding rows of passengers have stopped to admire the scene as the two young women exchange strained glances and obey like wounded allies.

The attendant, now restrained, straightens her flight jacket lapels and then leans over and moves one of the women’s extravagantly buckled purse to show where the seat belts are located.   

 The plane barters this morning.  I hear someone say the weather is nice in Vancouver. I hear someone else say it is raining.  I know it will be overcast, I have no doubt.   

The plane takes off and everyone is subdued as we hold our breath until we level.   My ears pop.  My stomach growls.  I hear a baby cry somewhere over the wing.  Planes are stepping stones for the world. 

{Written by Andrea Currie}

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