leaving on a jet plane, but no, not really

Tasha sums up my thoughts the recent JetBlue airfare deal perfectly:

So JetBlue has a slightly bizarro deal on right now: The “all-you-can-jet pass,” essentially a $600 pass to fly as often as you want on JetBlue, anywhere they go, for the month of Sept. 8 to October 8. This is a weird deal; it just isn’t how most people fly, with the possible exception of business travelers and salesmen, whom JetBlue would presumably much rather stick with the lucrative business-class bill.

But I’m weirdly tempted. I’m a sucker for the all-you-can-eat buffet, the season pass, the monthly CTA fee instead of the pay-by-the-trip card, the frequent buyer’s club, the all-day unlimited-trips deal, anything where you pay a flat fee and then it’s up to you to make it worth your while. And there’s something different and luxurious and lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous about the idea of just being able to hop on a plane whenever and go wherever, as often as I want. Never mind that my vacation time this year is pretty much spoken for, or that JetBlue mostly doesn’t go where I want to go, and the places I DO want to go, I could get to cheaper. I’m betting that with this pass, they’re selling more the idea of freedom, the sense that JetBlue is your private plane, just waiting to whisk you away, as though a trip from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon was a taxi ride between points downtown.

If I didn’t have a job, I think I’d be all over this in a pretty crazy way. Never mind the lack of logic in buying a service that will take me across the country to places I have no particular desire to be. I’d do it just for the travel. Who knows, maybe there’s something fascinating waiting in Newburgh, New York or Sarasota, Florida or Burlington, Vermont that I never would have known about otherwise, because I never would have thought to fly there. Or maybe it’d just be fun to treat an airline like one of those downtown hop-on, hop-off tour busses. I wonder how much more they’d charge for my own flight attendant to tell me about the splendors of Rutland or White Plains as I arrived.

amanda freaking palmer blew my brains out last night

Flying Virgin Air felt like reaching into tomorrow. Intellectually I knew what sort of experience it was going to be, I’d read articles about the in flight interactive computers and seen shiny, smiling pictures of people enjoying the interior of the plane, but I didn’t understand how, as an experience, it would be so comfortable and intuitive, yet subtly new.

I loved it. I loved the psychiatry precise Buddha Box ambient music, the violet lights softening the iPlane cigarette-white edges of the comfortably wide seats, the oddly flawless hand-set/computer-keyboard controller, the look&feel of the touch-screen design, and even the this-close-to-annoying mock trendy animation that explained what to do in event of a crash. Everything about the flight was a visceral reminder that we’re already in the future and you would have crashed that flying car anyway. I felt like a target market perfectly catered to, coddled, even in business class, with a desire to do it again instilled in me immediately, a thousand times more powerful than any advertisement could.

Clicking the handset out of the armrest, I clicked through the computer system, poking at everything that was available. (No one else signed onto the seat-to-seat chat, unfortunately, but it was enough that the option was there.) Finding a Music section, I braced myself for a tedious, arduous list of tenaciously popular artists, only to be pleasantly surprised. I found jazz, indie, rock, pop, techno, classical, and opera – everything I listen to at home, alphabetically listed all the way to Frank Zappa. Satisfied, I leaned back and shrugged out of my shoes. My schizophrenic play-list was a lovely thing, (inspiring me to want a long, intimate dinner with whoever programmed Virgin Air’s music selection), matched in beauty only by the ridiculously cotton pink dawn beginning to break so perfectly outside my airplane window.

“You said you would show me another country, and you have. It’s right here, in me.”

isn’t she pretty?
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

There was flying yesterday. I opened my eyes in Reine’s bed, not having slept at all. Karen and Patrick were downstairs with her mother. Ten minutes later, we were driving. Smooth ska on the stereo, too early for people to be aware. Up Victoria, up fourty-first, taking the bridge past the airport and out onto highway. I held my breath through the tunnel and wished I could remember how not to be wounded. I let it out half way, feeling empty and futile. A child thought, how hollow they make these places. The way the music played made me think of movies, of black pvc.

The plane was small, familiar. Fuselage white, pale as they always are in such places. Karen and Reine looked like headset angels. I rode in front, co-pilot pretender. Once I took the handles, but all I did was steer on course, something anyone could have done. It dragged to the left, heavy somehow so far above the earth. We flew to the airport outside of Victoria, touching down and lifting back up without pause. I held my hands out with my camera on top and said, “do you think we can do it?” to Patrick. Zero gravity, it lifted and fell upward, my fingers cradled under it as it swooped for the windscreen and I could feel my hair twisting away from my scalp, it was beautiful. Enough to unknot my eyes, to pry open my muscles enough to move.

Light seems different when you’re flying, like above the clouds there’s a different texture. I thought of marbles, cats eyes glittering, and agates, how I dearly wanted to walk back in time and say, “teach me now, not later, before you make mistakes.” I wanted twin handfuls of them, glass smooth and clear. I wanted them to spill and fall into the ocean beneath me, a mystery to any witnesses as much as my relationships. I miss him, of course I do. His hands hold my heart still, that burning thing. Blood, however, has left me barren. Think of burned houses, only the shell and metal remaining. Let my honour be my unwarped steel. Picture red hair and eyes like blue quick silver. My strawberry heart is useless, obviously, or else I would be able to stop my crying. I could return it home and let it flutter back into my breast like a nesting bird.

I have a doctors appointment this afternoon. A question asked of me demands it. The other women are likely wonderful people, but.

I remember trust.

forgive me if I want to chew out your eyes

Photo from Underground
Originally uploaded by Frankie Roberto.

Yesterday was a long test of my breaking points, from every trying direction. An exercise in self immolation. I had put all my energy into preparing to put Matthew on a plane, I had nothing more. The bomb blast in London was not as shattering an event as it’s perpetrators were perhaps hoping for, (nice of them to choose a date which makes sense both sides of the water, I thought, very considerate), but they have managed to wash our increasingly small world with justified concern.

At work I checked my e-mail, the early morning having been spent on a death grip attempt to hold onto my last vestiges of restful sleep then by airport checks, is this going to delay his flight? Change his flight? and was informed that an old friend had died. A pilot from Hope had a heart attack and didn’t make it. He was a good man, watching out for Marrissa and I when we were much younger and more liable to sneak off to the other end of the airfield at night to watch the stars fall down and sip at Chetan’s family stash of Sweet Cherabim apple cider. I’ve been absent there for a long time, several years now, but I’d known him since I was ten.

The next letter was worse, a discovery of trust violated. There were other things in my in-box, a few girlish letters I was happy about, I’m pen-pal-ing someone like I promised, and that’s pleasant, but they were all overwhelmed by one tiny note. I had to excuse myself, leave my desk and sit instead on the floor of the lavatory with my head on my knees. The day I put my love on the plane should not be the day my trust base is assassinated, but it was.

This was where I began to be disturbed at my ability for composure, at how quickly I’m able to simply eat what’s hurting me and continue, as the day before was less than great as well. In fact, every week lined up since the beginning of May has had tiny shattering disasters scattered about within it. I’m half as worried about myself as what’s been going on, because I’ve no clue what to do with stress. I’ve no one I may talk with, no hobby that vents anything. No outlet. At first it was tucked away in small corners of my mind, goading me to cry when I was tired and alone, then I began to find it in my body, I would tap on things and flick my fingers, pressing my hands into fists and releasing them over and over. Now, I don’t even know now. My teeth are stones, my tongue contains acid, and I am so very careful not to let it show. Someone said the other day that I’m going to die of machismo, and they might be right, but I don’t know any other way. I only want my hands to stop shaking.

I was controlled by the time Sandi came to pick me from work. We made small talk successfully in the car on our way to Matthew and I even managed to laugh a little when we arrived. He was packed, his entire life in a giant black suitcase open in the middle of the floor. The rest of the apartment looked exactly as it always does, a hotel room set-up with a futon instead of a bed, all the personal touches looking committee approved. Even under the crushing weight of Matthew’s departure, I was glad to leave.

The airport was simply that. A hiatus place, where the food is merely something to do until enough time has passed and the people aren’t real, but props with which to make meaningless conversation. I’ve kissed three people goodbye there now, though never when I myself was leaving, only when I was being left behind while they continued their lives without me. he’s been here too Part of the reason why I haven’t applied for my passport again is that I know if I have one, I won’t say goodbye and leave through the doors, instead I will walk up to a counter, any counter, and buy the cheapest ticket possible rather than return to Vancouver proper. That’s dangerous behaviour and it’s good to have a yoke for it.

A baggage handler smiled at me fondly when I saw Matthew off. He looked over and you could read in his face that he thought we were sweet, our kisses seen with nostalgia. I wanted to hit him, but instead I turned away. I found something to take with me from the kiosks, a tradition of mine to keep balance, a mental koan of departure, and caught buses back to the office.

After that was my first day of work at the chocolate shop.

I was half an hour late but my supervisor decided to mark me down as on time anyway, my co-workers are the most friendly people I’ve ever worked with, (if a shop were to be run by the people who stay at global backpackers hostels, that might be similar), I must have had a quarter pound of chocolate and a half pint of ice-cream and gelati, rounding it off on my way home with a frozen chocolate dipped nanimo bar, and I still came home depressed.

The next five weeks are going to be long.
I wish I knew how to let people be nice to me.