Flight

Written on 1 Dec09

Sitting on a packed plane, on the tarmac at Heathrow. The rain driving outside. The air-conditioning turned up so high the air is visible, turbulent clouds billowing from the air ducts, trying oh-so-desperately to clear the stale in-flight smell left behind by thousands of passengers. There’s another odour present, like hard cheese. I think my row-mate has decide to relax by taking his shoes off. The rest of us just feel uncomfortable…. But too polite to mention it 🙂

Planes are fascinating places, full of Travellers; some novice, some so accustomed to it that they barely acknowledge the safety announcement. The weather is the same in Dublin I hear, but “not quite so wet”. If you’re standing around in it, I think all rain feels wet.

The plastic that surrounds me, covering almost every surface is the same off-grey-kind-of-white-but-not-really shade. Notable by the absence of colour. I guess in a war between colour and cost, cost wins. Airports still give me a shiver of excitement when I see them from outside – full of lit glass and promises of freedom, of adventure. But once you step inside, they are utterly Grey. It’s the people who provide the colour; snatched snippets of secret conversations, the intimacy of moments by the departure gates, the excited children off on their holidays, the bowed head of the business traveller. They’re all there, human stories at all stages of life, all encased in an off-grey-kind-of-white-but-not-really shade.