36,000 Feet Above and 6472 Miles From Me

I'm flying solo today, off to spend a week or so with my dad, trying to get some precious time alone with him to create a few more two-minute memories that I can hopefully package and bring back with me.

I'm trying to acclimatize at 36,000 feet. 

I think I've finally come to terms with the continuous vibration that naturally emanates from a 242 foot long metal flying bullet spewing fuel out of its engines at a rate sufficient to keep the beast coursing through the heavens.

I am about 4 hours into a 13 hour flight.  I've been awake about 9 hours, but since I've traversed a few timelines now it is actually only six hours later than when i woke up. 

We are suspended somewhere above Poland ... not actually suspended, more like catapulting across it at over 550 MILES/hr. 

According to the flight information on the TV screen in front of me, it is -61C outside ... BRRRR.  Thank goodness I brought a wrap; it was 35C when the cab dropped me off at the airport this morning.  A 96 degree fluctuation in the weather would be considered extreme even by the hardiest of Atlantic Canadians (you know the saying ... 'if you don't like the weather out East, just wait five minutes.')  But a 90C fluctuation?  nunhunhhh.  That's pretty harsh even for us Cold Coast folk ... 

I know it's cold because the old lady in the row across from me is wearing a knit cap.

She is a part of a much larger group of people of all ages, from elementary to golden age.  They are wearing badges that say IOM .... I will have to google it once i am back on Terra Firma.  The group is traveling with one single fair-skinned blonde lady of a decidedly eclectic and granola-like existence.  I'm tempted to ask them where they're from, what they're all about.

Unfortunately that might lead to the impression that i am sociable and elicit actual conversation with strangers, which i pretty much suck at.

The younger ones keep on coming to sit with the blonde lady seated in front of me, surreptitiously squeezing the window shade up, much to the chagrin of the flight attendants, who have repeatedly come forward to tell them to pull it down.  Apparently the attendants would rather keep the vibrating, humming cocoon dark  so as to motivate our collective sleep, punctuated here and there only with drool, a snort, or the dreaded silent killer. 

But these kids don't much care about entertaining farty dreams ... their dream obviously revolves more around absorbing this experience of taking to the skies, around floating around this vast expanse of nothingness they see outside that window.  Flight is a most obvious first for this group.

Halfway into the flight... We are somewhere just South of Iceland now, three times as high above the surface of the ocean as the Titanic lies below.  I try not to think about the close to fifty thousand feet of nothingness that separate me from the next closest solid surface.

My bottom is not feeling too numb;  this is usually the point where everything starts to ache.  Perhaps the half-hearted attempts at pilates, together with vit D and vit B injections are actually working?

My compression stockings seem to be helping ... yet i can't help but wonder if my legs will literally pop out once i remove the socks? They definitely feel tight.

Toilet has not been too much of a problem. Smilin' Vic booked me a great aisle seat 4 rows ahead of the toilets, close to the front of the plane so I don't feel the turbulence so much.

Unfortunately the Indian Sikh and Nepalese mountain woman seem to be perfectly synchronized to my urge to pee. Four times now, I have gotten up to go immediately as the old bearded man is closing the door behind him. Twenty minutes is his average length of visit to 'the facilities'. 

Based on what I've witnessed, he has not figured out the flush function although I strongly suspect he initially made the mistake of not closing the lid before flushing (if you've ever tried this, you realize it has the same effect as an overfull blender without the lid on). 

The Nepali woman seems to always get up immediately after me, her timing impeccable. She stares at me with absolute dejection in her eyes as she pleads wordlessly for me to relinquish my spot I the waiting line. Which I do, every time.  It's my own fault for making eye contact.

Rule number one of flying: do NOT make eye contact.  No friendships to be forged in the 'loo lane'.  It's every man/woman/child for themselves when it comes to airborne bladder matters. Unless you are stupid enough to make eye contact. "Arghhhhhh.... Damn me for being so weak!"

I've been introduced to Suburgatory, officially my new favorite series.  I watch all six episodes.

I watch The Silver Linings Playbook with Bradley Cooper  ... love it!  Wonderfully bleak humor.

Twelve hours in...  I am wondering if my mom who is vacationing with her sisters in Rimouski realizes that i have just flown over her ...that I am now cruising over La Malbaie ...

I haven't slept; I can't sleep in moving vehicles.  I've now been up about 16 hours after about four hours sleep last night. I'm starting to become undone. I'm becoming emotional. Fatigue is weighing down on me; it's literally like a heavy blanket, and every once in a while I nod off; then my head lolls and I awaken suddenly, grabbing maybe four or five minutes 'sleep' at a time.

I'm thinking of the lady seated a row behind in the middle aisle, how she is obviously grieving.  She is seated between her two young daughters and spent the first few hours of the flight sobbing quietly, her older daughter, who is maybe 12, wrapping her arms around her.  She has fallen asleep with her head resting on that stoic 12-yr-old's shoulder.  My emotions are getting the best of me. I want to reach out to comfort this stranger ...

And then I finally let myself settle on the real cause of my angst.  It is the child and husband I have left behind for nine days ... 36,000 feet below, more than 6,000 miles away, 14 hours from me...

I close my eyes, and I cry.  Just a bit.  Silently. It'll go by fast.  It'll be ok.

Love you and miss you Smilin' Vic and Kiddo.

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