Monday, February 9, 2009

Plane Disdain Again And Again

And I became possessed by a sudden, panting inclination to be home. Desperation was my perspiration that I could not wipe away. Light drops of rain began, every four or so seconds, to spit and pour and so increased my obsession with the idea to be inside and away from here.

Perhaps it was the sandy Marlborough cigarette pinched between my fingers and my others wrapped around my book or further or exclusively the whisky I was almost finished but couldn't bring myself to sip the last half-inch of.

This place- Singapore- had me gripped by the throat with it's humid, sticky air and it's busy, infested, smelling streets. I tried to escape at every corner, wave a taxi but there was no making it to the street to instigate such a request as the entire street was fenced off from the road and the flow of traffic too thick to negotiate.

I packed my shit and my suitcase and left swift the place where I'd spent two sweaty nights. Having checked out I beckoned to the clerk to call a taxi for me and my girl so we could be whirled, finally, away to the airport. No luck. Festivities surrounded us and marched down the streets and people greeted each other and measured us waves of defeat. We changed corners and with many more attempts got a ride, even though the taxi said hired he stopped and we packed the boot and jammed our suitcases where we could.

He drove with a twitch that every time he'd spasm made me flinch and that was about every six seconds. The drive was cheap and easier than the train, which we'd made the mistake, now evidently, of taking to get to our destination originally. Finally, arriving at terminal three we could see our friend waiting at the gate's entrance for check in and greeted her with relief. I think our hunger for home was feeding off each other's.

The plane ride, or rather flight was horrific. At least if you line it next to all our others. Turbulence for about half the way and that meant no dinner trays until at least, say ten-thirty, and by that time I was also very thirsty. I drank a Tiger beer from the choice of that or Fosters, and I remembered when we flew eastwards I'd instead gotten Asahi, which is a far better brew than either.

The chicken on the plane had as much taste as you could expect and so I ate my friend's as well, as she was feeling sickened. When I eventually did try to sleep, and the lights were slightly dimmed, I couldn't reach my feet far enough to shake the cramps. I could feel myself itching to stand and ditch this plane.

And then gradually, the in-flight entertainment screen computer database somehow managed to over and super heat my seat because it was between the seat's base and the floor. I ignored it for awhile, but I finally gave up. I was melting and decided I've only myself to help me here, so I pressed my little signal button and explained the situation to the stewards. To which, they could not largely remedy, mostly just got other staff to see, and advised they'd report it and try and sort it out and cool down the zone.

But no, it did not really work, so I unzipped my boots and slipped off my shoes. But still the heat soaked me from head to feet and I had to stand up and go for a walk. But where to walk to on a plane, well exactly.. just up and down the aisle and disturbing the peace till you start to cool down at least.

God knows how, though I surely don't, I eventually, though poorly got to sleep. But it was broken so I awoke, now and then to almost choke on the fact that I was still in-transit. And then I'm not really sure but it was somehow breakfast time and we all dined on tiny bits of fruit, including four grapes and a couple of slices of tinned pineapple and something that may have been a papaya, though it smelt like fish.

A bread roll and bad jam and I didn't take notice of what else, except to wait for coffee. I downed an orange juice, a bad black brew and a cup of water to help me chew all this mush food. Anyway, a short time after breakfast and the turbulence had now mellowed out, we were advised of landing Melbourne.

Not physically still panting, but subliminally may as well have been, 'cause I would have visibly been edging to get the fuck off the plane. Disdain was on the faces of all the other traveling strangers when the plane would stay in the one place, probably whilst cabin crew set up braces and tunneling. I rummaged through my hand luggage and tried to preoccupy myself with inactivity but it didn't do anything so I climbed over all the seats, somersaulting and catapulting myself to the front.

I soon enough checked through and customs, for my tobacco chewed me and spat me out with a nice hefty taxing. Though I guess, somewhat, gladly I paid 'cause it was still granted, a cheaper alternative to laying out for six hundred sticks in Australia.

I paced, heart racing, through the arrival's large doors and gate and strayed my eyes left first, then right, trying to find her gaze. I'd recognise her anywhere, whether years from now or yesterday. And we locked sights and exclaimed and shouted and sighed and ran and hugged and were publicly excited.

She had me a proper coffee, well as proper as the airport does, and sure enough that was enough to give me a bit of a caffeine/reunion rush. And rush we did to suck down Singaporean cigarettes in her red Suzuki Swift and brisked ourselves completely the long way home but all the same in bliss.

Driving towards the city, and taking a peek in the rear-vision mirror, I caught a glimpse of a plane, much like my so despised one, lifting off the runway with tremendous speed. And suddenly my conscience was split in two; one part of me glad to be home in comforting arms and the all so familiar but the other suffering withdrawals of experiences new.

And I realised; as the cigarette I was inhaling: I'm failing to give up the feeling of freedom and being alive that travel gives with ease, and so fucking swift to crave and so with it's absence tease. So please, put me back on a plane and let's do it all over again.

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