The illusion is betrayed by the ice particles that grow like hedges in the window frame, and the pure white frost streaming over the wing outside.
The plane is almost one-third empty, and I wander back, away from the wing, and spread out across an entire aisle. I know the pictures won't turn out, but I try to capture the mind bending sight below me anyway.
I've been on enough planes to lose count of how many, but this one-of-a-kind view still fascinates me.
Why do people ever choose an aisle seat?
How could they ever get jaded by the miracle below them?
We can all see the entire continent, spread out impossibly large and distant -- and it's not an image. Is it the actual earth. It's really there, and we're really here, thirty thousand feet up, sitting comfortably.
How could they turn away, purchase one-dollar headphones, and watch a movie instead?
Is it fear again?
In both airports, the news was talking about THE SNIPER. Nothing else. In the hotel lobby, the news was talking about THE SNIPER. I just flew, at eight hundred miles an hour, over the heads of a hundred million people, and a hundred million acres of land.
And the national news spent all day covering THE SNIPER.
This, my friends, is why I don't watch TV news. Television, as a method of delivery, wants to strain everything it gives you down to it's sensationalist, eyeball-roping worst, so it can trick you into watching something you otherwise wouldn't. Commercials. Television is a big trick. It's that simple.
On the other hand, news off the internet is created, indexed, and filtered for it's content alone. A page is put online because the content itself is in demand. As a side effect, you get ten million porno sites. As an advantage, you're not forced to look at them all every time you run a search query. ALL of them, anyway.
In the give-and-take, the internet wins. But the internet is accessible to a narrow slice of Americans. The rest of them get television.
And so, they live in fear.
Okay, I went off topic.
Here I am in my hotel room. I'm not sure how many miles away from home Atlanta, Georgia is. I've only been here once before, and not in this part of town.
My flight into this place was delayed by weather, and so I missed my connection. While many people around me pissed and moaned and slandered the staff, I quietly rescheduled for tomorrow and took advantage of their hotel offer. Travel doesn't seem so hard, really.
I've gone through three security checkpoints, had to take my laptop out twice, and had to take my shoes off. I didn't mind it, really, since I knew that I still had plenty of time to make each flight, and while I was in the air there was no point in worrying. I wasn't that irritated by the weather delay, but I was by the manager of the gate in Chicago, a snippy girl who did the absolute minimum she could to assist me, and then broke me "at random" out of the line along with several others for an additional search. I think she was angry at me because I saw her act like an ass.
Whatever. I did the search and got on the plane, knowing I would never ever see the irritating girl again. With that thought squarely in my mind, it was almost funny. She probably felt like even more of an ass, when I didn't react to that either.
I couldn't believe the conversation of the couple in front of me, in Atlanta. The nice manager was rebooking their flight, and gave them a choice between the soonest and closest ones, and they just shook their heads at each other, and said, "That is not acceptable."
They stood aside, to think about things, while the manager helped me. It was as if they were computers, and had just crashed with some message like "ILLEGAL QUANTITY ERROR", and were now totally stuck.
Kudos to you, Pop, for the advice that is now part of my head: Don't raise a stink, don't panic, just rework your plans, and roll with it.
I'll see my lovely friend at 10:00am tomorrow.