When I was a kid, I dreaded plane rides. Plane rides were 16-hour flights to Asia cramped in the four middle aisle seats, my sister and I between our parents. One children’s movie available. I don’t know if this memory became exaggerated with the years, but I seem to remember us watching “Mulan” six times in one flight. Air sickness. Popping ears. Adjusting the small papery pillow every single which way but still finding no comfortable position to sleep. The only fun part was getting to suck a lollipop to help with the popping ears during the ascent and descent.
I always call those flights my formation (training). Anything less than 16 hours now seems like a breeze.
It seems that my graduation from dreading flights to them being painless to enjoying them happened all of a sudden. Once, I had to take nausea medicine before every flight, then one day I didn’t have to. I could eat the food without feeling sick. The air pressure didn’t bother me.
Now I often fall asleep waiting for the plane to take off, and when I wake up we are already in the air.
Instead of viewing the flight as a necessary evil, I catch up with metro newspapers and magazines and read a novel. I think about where I’m coming from and where I’m going. I replay the last few days in the place I’m departing from. I think about the loved ones I’m leaving and the loved ones I’m going to see. On my way to the States, I think about big slices of pizza.
Rather than feeling cramped next to the window, it is my preferred seat, for cloud gazing and landscape searching.
My recent flight to Chicago treated me to striking bodies of water, curves of land, baseball fields, and cloverleaf roads.