Tuesday, 19 July 2016
The View from 15B
'Relax' instructed the paper beverage cup on my tray table. Of course I was trying, but there's nothing particularly relaxing about being strapped in a space smaller than a doll's toilet cubicle, hurtling at 900 km/h some 32,000 feet in the air.
I love airports and adore aircraft. The travel itself, however is never worth remembering. At 6'4", the travelling part of air travel appeals to me about as much as a colonoscopy. And trying to relax surrounded by 176 other examples of your fellow living, breathing, sweating human beings is just damn uncomfortable.
Add to the mix a miniature human, some 7 months old lying prostrate across mine and my wife’s lap and you have a strong candidate for least fun one hour and fifty-four minutes spent in an self-propelled aluminium tube.
After the tumult of taxiing and takeoff, little Archer decided to be the happiest boy in the world before cracking the sads. There was no cheering this little lump up. Eventually, he fell asleep with a bit of coaxing from his mother. More than I can say for me. I am typing this with my left hand (goddamn oversized iPhone screen) as he is lying across our laps. With a seat pitch of what I assume is minus 10 microns, my legs are slowly dying under the tray table. I can't put it up because those cups are still there, partially filled with scalding liquid. 'Relax'.
But it's a bit difficult. The man in the seat ahead insists on leaning his seat back, even though he is in an exit row (with an extra 10 microns of leg room) and is far shorter than I. Typing with my left thumb is also proving a frustrating experience and I am filled with regret for not downloading Microsoft's one handed keyboard. Autocorrect is at once, immensely frustrating, but will be amusing with the distance of time: my legs—“dying" under the limited tray table space, were initially "drying"; the wee baby Archer cracking the "sads" was briefly "sass", perhaps an appropriate word if not entirely the one I was looking for.
But soon we’ll be at our destination. The first officer just announced (…with great…and…unnecessary…GAPS between…words) that the temperature at our destination—Melbourne—was 7ºC. A cabin-wide groan ensued. What a lovely cliché. After all, we had not 90 minutes ago left sunny Brisbane where 21ºC was just another winter’s day. Such are the joys of modern aviation that you can leave home and arrive on holiday within a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the return journey is just a quick. Uh-oh. The little man’s moving again…