14 October 2007

The Aisle Seat Made A Difference



The aisle seat made a difference between
feeling inhibited or contained in another
passenger’s lack of interest. A long flight in
any manner of speaking, twenty two hours
end to end, endurance of spirit over time and
distance, solid transition from where to when.

The mind jumps ahead where the body lags
in slow death of a manic, midday Heathrow
departure. Delays, our captain says, when we’re
seated, due to passengers caught in London’s
endless traffic jam – small beer to we who got lost,
waited disengaged in a queue going nowhere.

With gravity pressing us to seats the wait
seems inconsequent – we’re airborne, on
our way. Eleven hours, dawning light reveals
Suvarnabhumi airport beneath, three movies,
two meals and the delight of Thai Stewardess’s
inarguable largesse. I think we even slept.

Mementos to buy, gifts for the new-born, tokens
of thanks; wiser this time we get the best. Aboard
again, nine hours to touchdown, an hour to bed –
unwinding. The news we flew via Sydney came as we
overflew Darwin, a sequel to restrained relief; even
Jesus wept, three more hours wasted to Brisbane.

Said to Immigration, feels like I’ve been home
for weeks with all this waiting. Yeah, he replies,
and you’ve got more ahead at Culture & Customs
mate. They’ll assess your core beliefs. They’ll ask
you who was our first PM* – that’s right;
a newby kind of entry test.
©11 October 2007, I. D. Carswell

*For the record: Sir Edmund Barton, 1901 - 1903