In A Plane Again
|A380 leaves Sydney while I wait.|
11:54pm at Home. 2:54pm in Bethlehem. Something else in Bangkok.
We’ve got about 3 hours to go to Bangkok and I am still wide awake. Ain’t the human body weird? Normally I would just be waking up momentarily to the sound of a computer shutting down in a nearby room and lights being switched on, or maybe books being taken out for a little midnight reading. Instead I am in 40G on this 747 somewhere over Indonesia. According to the flight map on my little TV screen a bit north of Bali, and a bit east of Surabaya. I’ve been to both places before, I think. Although my only sight of Bali would have been a transition through the Denpasar airport. Although maybe I am dreaming that up. I’ve been so many places, I can’t remember which ones I went to, and which ones I thought I might. Have. Went to.
You can see that air travel isn’t good for my brain. Nor are migraines. One of which I had earlier. Inevitably. Still, medication knocked it down and me a little bit out.
Drive up to Melbourne was fine, although I took a back road out of Warrnambool owing to some dumb driver blocking the right hand turn out of Banyan Street and forcing me to sneak into the left lane instead of queueing across Raglan Parade. Hence I was heading to Mortlake unexpectedly. I decided to drive out through Framlingam, since I’d never been that way before. It’s a very pretty drive that goes through Noorat which is a gorgeous little town. It has a little old Bluestone Presbyterian church. Is that one of ours? The road comes out near Terang, so I followed the highway from there. Very slow after Winchelsea with the new roadworks.
Parked at the usual place and had no trouble getting onto the earlier flight to Sydney except that the flight was full and they had to sit me in the, normally vacant, middle seat between two other frequent flyers who I inferred from their body language were less than well pleased to have someone stuffed in between them. The tension didn’t help my head. As I boarded, I asked one of them whether the fact that the overhead locker above him was closed indicated that it was chockers and he replied stuffily, “I wouldn’t have any idea.”
I opened the locker and informed him that “Yes it is.”
He warmed to me later. Called me Sir when asking if I would kindly lift my elbow so he could get his tray table out of the armrest. I contemplated telling him I had no idea, but Christian charity won the day again. The other FF was a lady who seemed almost recognisable, but perhaps it was just that she resembled Germaine Greer. It wasn’t GG though. She was reading Woman’s Day which scotched that idea pretty fast.
Transferred to the International Airport without difficulty and watched the planes coming and going from the First Class lounge (Thank you again, James Strong) while the migraine faded away and so did my enthusiasm for life. No alcohol for the rest of the journey is the resolution.
Spirits improved on finding my Economy Class seat in this little private row behind Premium Economy with Business Class footroom and only two of us to occupy the four centre row seats.
“Are you ze Vrequent Traffeler,” says the other bloke in the other aisle seat leaning over to allow me to hear his mid-European accent better over the safety announcement. I say “Yes” which is hardly the truth these days, but I have an Emerald coloured card which suggests I am. Or once was.
“Zat is vy vee haf zees seats,” he informs me. I do not register surprise.
“Indeed,” I say, “and zat is why these seats between us are empty.” Did I say zat then? Oh dear, the migraine has turned me into Zelig. He doesn’t speak to me again. So that worked.
Qantas, you may have heard, is having a fight with its maintenance engineers. My overhead light does not work. I don’t mind. I listen to Jerry Seinfeld in the dark for a bit before manufacturing a solution.
I can switch on the reading light for the empty seat beside me and a bit of judicious poking at it levers its beam in the vicinity of my lap. Still, if the light over my seat has not been checked before takeoff, one wonders what else they overlooked. Did someone count the engines?
We leave more or less on schedule soon after 5pm Sydney time. And a meal arrives before 6pm. I choose Slow Cooked Pork with Noodles. It’s quite tasty. And tiny. But one mustn’t overeat. It’s bad for your Deep Vein Thombosis according to the in flight magazine. I need to keep my Deep Vein Thrombosis in good order, I decide. But then I agree to eat a Weis bar, Mango flavour, when they bring them around. And, a few hours later, an apple. It still has the sticker on it. There’s nowhere to put the sticker and I am tempted just to eat it right off the skin, but then I choose to remove it and stick it neatly in the corner of the paper napkin provided with the apple. No-one comes to pick up the apple core and it moulders away on the empty seat tray table for the next few hours.
Meanwhile I watch Senna. Wonderful documentary about Ayrton Senna. Is that how you spell Ayrton? Like the town of Ayr plus Ton? Looks alright. Very sad though. Cause you know he’s going to die. I remember watching that race late at night in 1994. I guess Jamie sat up with me too. He usually did.
I had forgotten that Barichello was having his first season of racing that year and his car flew, literally, off the track into the barriers. He was shook up, but unhurt. Senna’s accident was not much different. He just had the bad luck that a piece of his suspension flew into his head. They said he was “otherwise unhurt”. Not even a bruise on his body. Gruesome.
Now reaching the nadir of depressive sadness I chose to watch a rom-com called Something Borrowed which was quite entertaining and starred some actress who looked like a young Sally Field, plus Goldie Hawn’s daughter who played to type and some guy who looked like a young Tom Cruise. Very light, silly and good for one’s sense of general well being after Senna. It even had a happy ending, although prospects of such a conclusion were well hidden for most of the 90 minutes.
Now we have 2½ hours to Bangkok and then a short connection to El Al for Tel Aviv. I guess I’ll sleep on that sector.