A Plane Journey
The aeroplane, one of man’s most wondrous creations, a beautiful metallic bird, scouring through the heavens at high speed. It transports us from a damp London flat to the beautiful beaches of Barbados in a matter of hours. It enables a business leader to visit his factories in Hong Kong in practically no time, where once it would have taken days on a boat. It improves our lives, and leads to countries being interdependent on one another. It is truly magnificent.
However, many would say that this view is one that can only exist in a world where there isn’t such a thing as air sickness and vertigo, a world where people aren’t afraid of being unnaturally high in the air, a world that is completely and utterly perfect. I am one of those people, one of those people that dreads even the thought of a plane journey. Don’t believe that this is an irrational fear; I know the harsh realities of plane travel all too well.
Many of our first memories are of happy times, like the first time we rode our bikes on two wheels, or the time when we were holidaying at the beach. Sadly, my first memory is not of a happy time, it is a memory full of shock and trauma; it is a memory of my first visit to Pakistan.
I was a mere boy at the time, possibly 4 or 5 years old, ignorant of the world’s ills. I knew nothing of travel, the furthest I had been was to Cornwall for a weekend away, little did I know that my mother, my own flesh and blood, would scar me for life by taking me to Pakistan. It wasn’t the poverty ridden land and amputees begging on the streets that truly traumatized me, it was the journey there. She charmed me into the idea at first, telling me of how cars look like miniscule ants, scuttling around the city, of how you fly high above the clouds, yet she must have forgotten the grim consequences associated with planes.
As we boarded the plane, the air hostesses shook everybody’s hands, smiled constantly and kept on repeating “have a pleasant journey.” To this day I cannot understand the facade that airhostess put on, trying to be friendly to everyone onboard, glinting their unnaturally white teeth under the dull florescent lighting.
One of the hostesses then led me to my seat, and then tried to lecture the whole cabin about how to tie a seat belt. I’m sure my fellow passengers found her to be idiotic and patronising as well, we all knew how to tie a seatbelt, the fact that she repeated herself in several languages frustrated me further. She then gave us precise directions to the toilet; luckily she didn’t demonstrate how to use it.
After a few minutes of waiting in our seats, a tinny voice radiated from speakers throughout the plane. It sounded like a Liverpudlian man, supposedly our pilot, announced several irrelevant details, I may sound rather odd, but I honestly couldn’t care less about the outside temperature in a far off land. He then went on to describe time zones and jet lag.
As the pilot finished his epic tale of temperatures and times, the plane started to chug slowly forward. It rapidly gathered speed and soon it was going at a speed I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. It was going too fast. We were going to die!
And then something both wonderfully terrifying and terrifyingly wonderful happened. The plane rose majestically in the air, we were defying the laws of gravity. Isaac Newton, please stand aside, the apple no longer falls, it flies. I was so euphoric at the fact that I was in the air; my fear had been completely washed away.
After what seemed like a split second, my childlike fascination ended and fear set in. I felt a sharp pain stabbing at my ear drums, as if a bomb had exploded within my head. Due to the fact that I watched “The Numbskulls” as a child, I thought that one of the little people in my brain had unfortunately passed away. In my childish ignorance, I screamed.
As my mother comforted me, repeating the phrase “He’s not dead, he just fell over,” I realised that we had reached a constant altitude. A few minutes after this realisation, air hostesses crowded the cabin, handing out what appeared to be the contents of sick bags. My mother informed me, that it was “food.” Always wishing to try new things, I had a spoonful of the “food” and then realised that not only did this “food” look like vomit, it tasted like vomit too.
Once I refused to finish my plate, or should I say, tray, tea and coffee was served. Unfortunately the air hostesses didn’t have an IQ greater than 30 and foolishly served these hot drinks at a rather turbulent time. The hot contents of my cup dripped from the sides, a small drop at a time on my knee. I have always been fearful of the idea of Chinese water torture; I believe they should use hot tea instead. Believe me; nothing can be worse than the pitter patter of hot tea on your knee.
My trousers drenched, I decided to slump in my chair and have a soothing nap. I felt a slight push on my back, I was pleasantly surprised, a soothing massage during the journey? It was like the adverts. The second push, was slightly harder, and the third even harder. By the seventh or eighth push, it was quite painful, massages are usually comfortable aren’t they, this is no massage. As I looked behind me, I saw a rather overweight child digging his heels into the back of my seat. Anger rushed inside me, like my mother rushed into Asda after seeing a sale on cucumbers. I felt that justice must be served, I will not hide under the fear of a kick, this wrongdoer must be punished for his crime. I took the law into my own hands; I threw a plastic knife at the boy’s face. Unfortunately, my idea of justice at the time, led to the boy erupting tears, as if he were Krakatau.
As his mother glared at me as if she was a hawk, and I was her prey. I made eye contact for a second, then realised that you should never make eye contact with a predator. I slowly turned around, slouched in my chair, closed my eyes and slept.