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Monday, May 3, 2010

Cultivating Superstitions

Casually strolling down the ramp toward the waiting plane, I make a habit of touching the craft before I board, willing it to soar safely. Useless superstition, but it comforts me. Limitless others possess similar and drastically different superstitions about flying, and it's obvious that my particular method is shared by many, as the metal shows through in a worn way next to the rivets by the door. Turbulence is a troubling thing, it shakes men in ties and women with infants to the core, their nerves growing fragile. I shuffle down the aisle, flying coach; they've put me in the nosebleeds again, where is the emergency exit? Vacantly staring out the window, the man in the seat next to me with a briefcase on his lap turns to acknowledge my arrival. Awkward. This is going to be a long flight, I expect no conversation, as I have no interest in the stock market and he has no interest in daisy chains and salt water taffy, at least none that he would venture to admit. I lift my lone bag into the overhead, pushing it toward the back. Not a word, just a look, I clutch my book, buckle the safety belt. Gate is left, safety routine demonstrated, the tough tattooed man diagonal to me watches a romantic comedy, 'He's Just Not That Into You', I chuckle inwardly.

Vertically soaring, earth below, I crane my neck to look out the window, marveling at the cloud kingdom. Old woman in the seat across the aisle coughs gingerly, the recirculated air swirling her lungs. I try to hold my breath for awhile, hoping my ear drums will pop. Courtesy beverages are distributed, and a complimentary breakfast of cornflakes and a muffin that is sweeter than ought be legal. Everything goes according to plan, we land safely in Texas, I've never been to Texas before, it's hot and everything has doubled in size.

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