I hate flying. It reminds me of all those insurmountable things as an individual. Resigning your trust to a stranger, reducing yourself to annonimity among countless others, becoming a statistic. “Flying is the safest way to travel,” they’ll say. Where does my life stack up? A school teacher here, an obscure but well-known celebrity there, a doctor, a policeman, a foreign diplomat. Would anyone pick me out of a group? “Among the passengers was a man who hasn’t quite figured out his life yet, who is travelling in an RV with no destination in mind.” Hardly front page stuff.
I’m flying back to the bay area. A trip that has taken me 4 weeks, 5 states, 1 blown tire, countless dollars in repair costs, and a good deal of my sanity, took just over 3 hrs to fly back. What a novel privilege! And all it took was allowimg someone to raise me up 30000 ft and crossing my fingers they would set me down light as a feather.
I’m back to attend my grandmother’s funeral. She was 96. A brilliant and charismatic woman, she would have never lamented on such trivial musings. But taking my life back for my own sake has been what this whole time has been about. She sure did that. Of course, she was a team player, but never forgot about being true to herself and her genuine path. Yet, she knew, “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” and we are all “dealt the hands we got”. That being a statistic, and abiding reality, is the price we pay for owning our individuality.
Now that I’m back, all the beauty of the bay, the comfort of community, the fact that you only drive 35 mph on the highways (traffic), the clean look that permeates everywhere you look. It’s all so safe. I realize that the privilege of flying in that sardine can of annonimity is alot like living among the privileges of city life. In the 4 weeks I’ve lived a whole life of adventure, some people are still pushing back a deadline at work, or waiting for a weekend free from obligations, or going to the local bar Friday night.
It’s like we’re all on a plane (or plain to quote cobain), zipping through life, addicted to convenience, putting our trust in the laws of numbers, never thinking that we could be on the one that goes down, and not even making the evening news.
So here’s what I’ve been up to in the time it takes a business man to commute from Phoenix to SF, all the beauty and struggle of taking my time, in control of my destiny, and throwing statistics out the window. And if there’s one thing I know after being responsible for just 5 souls in our own “ground plane/land yatch”…pilots of commercial airlines are individuals who every day make decisions that keep those statistics safe, and deserve WAY more credit for that.