Archive for December 14th, 2009

Our plane was filled to the brim with storm-tossed, time-lost travelers: the weary, the cynical, the depressed, the loud, and those pretending not to care. Each of us had a long wait in the crowded terminal, as the torrential rains flooded our plans, and there was nothing to be done.

We sat, and then sat some more, and then boarded what seemed a toy jet. It was Lilliputian: cramped, and designed for small humans. For once, in the positive, here was a situation in which being vertically challenged was a boon.

Rushed into our seats, so our take-off could be “timely”, Air Traffic Control decided it best we wait some more. After an hour seat-belted down, we got off the ground, and then arrived under two hours later.  Official apologies followed, along with some boasting that we had arrived in “less than the time it usually takes, thanks to those favorable winds, and a good route”.

So, we pulled into the gate, got the green light to stand, and began to gather our bags, only to wait some more. As it was so late, there was only one ground crewman to greet us, and he was tied up elsewhere unloading another plane.

We were captors in a compressed silver tube! I thought this is what processed food feels like.

Images of the bed in my hotel danced in my head and room service delicacies too, with a good shower and maybe some very late night news and, finally, off to bed. In what seemed hours, we were freed from bondage. For me, the guy who released us was of no less stature than Moses. Finally, light at the end of the jet way and then out into the terminal where there was  …………. no one.

I walked through a ghost-town terminal. It was just we, the refugees of the silver tube from the 3rd Ring of Dante’s Inferno. It was then I felt a strange sadness. Look at all the empty seats.

Then, it all suddenly dawned on me: When we are all gone as a species, these seats will still be here. What story will they tell? There was once a race of fearless travelers who came here to fly, but then spent most of their time sitting.

We were in the throes of “deplaning”.

This is such a cold, dehumanizing word. We were “deplaned,” but not greeted and warmly repatriated. No one was there to say welcome. No one to hug or smile at. Just all these ferocious folks with one thing on their minds: Leave here and get as far away as possible.

There is something surreal about all this. We move with great purpose and rush all about, and then spend so much time “zombified”; glued to cell phones and laptops.

The coffee is consumed in billions of liters, along with tons of carbohydrates, adding greater girth to an already rotund society. Magazine sales do well, and then there is always sleeping. One need little more evidence that all our technology and modernity has simply anesthetized us and made us hollow.

We are deplaned. It is imperative that we re-enchant this life and slow down, so that we can more meaningfully speed up.

I think the ghostly terminal, with all the empty seats, is a powerful, telling icon: when filled by day, they may still be largely empty.

I got to my very fine hotel, at last, full of expectation. Room service was unavailable.

© Brother Anton and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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