It’s seven hours into a ten hour flight and I can’t remember why the extra five thousand bucks to upgrade to business class seemed so outrageous when I booked the tickets.
I have depleted all my entertainment options. I’ve read the magazines, picked at the tasteless processed food offerings, guzzled all proffered liquids, burned up my iPod battery and watched every movie. My body has developed some form of living rigor mortis. My joints are stiff, my back quivers in spasms, pins and needles shoot down to my feet and my blood is pooling to the lowest points. Only a few more hours to go. Only a few more hours to go, I chant beatifically.
I carefully fold my five foot ten inch frame into a position that causes the least amount of pain, prodding pillows and blankets around the sharp protrusions of the seat. Would it be too much to ask for padded armrests? I glance enviously at the tiny woman across the aisle, fast asleep, small enough to curl up comfortably. I sigh, push away the desperate urge to lay down flat, and close my eyes.
Somewhere, perhaps flying over the last remnants of the polar cap, the claustrophobia of hurtling through the air in a metal tube overwhelms Lorenzo and he morphs into a fiery, fuming “el Diablo”. I jerk awake, my head bouncing against the window, as the precarious placement of my limbs is obliterated by the ferocious eruption beside me. A demonic bundle of fury, he thrashes around, tears at the belt buckle, shoves up the armrests, scatters books and magazines in all directions, groaning and cursing loudly.
I reach over and rub his back reassuringly. I feed him the chocolate and cashews I’ve squirreled away for just this moment. I invent a few errands that necessitate getting up and moving around. Can you go ask the steward for some more water, please fetch me a paper towel, will you find out the number of the arrival gate? His visage slowly approaches normal and we fold ourselves back into our precarious cocoons for the remainder of the flight.
Through the lens of relentless, ceaseless global news feed, the world often appears to be getting smaller every day and yet, after an inordinate amount of time hunched in seat 43A, I am comforted by the reminder that the earth really is a big place.