The Flight – Observing People
Minutes to go. The airport. Infinite variety of dress and ways await departure in a line as long as Florida. Some have been standing 50 minutes now, as lobby seats, save for the one I’m resting in, are vacant. Why? Seats on the plane are all assigned. To what advantage do they seek? To get on first, then wait some more, get up and down again, forced into space crammed full of others getting on? Somebody needs the window seat and you are on the aisle. All this is far beyond my understanding. I will be among the last to board – observing. There’s a woman in the line with four inch high heels. Looks like torture, but she seems at ease with it.
300 of us take out places, belted in like sardines in a can. The flight attendants have begun the ritual explaining seat belts. There are life preservers under seats, were told. All easily available. “Do not inflate while still inside the cabin.” Right. We will remember that when all 300 of us try escaping from this tin can as it sinks.
We take off 30 minutes late, head up into the clouds at a surprising angle, and then level off into the clouds. Attendants now come down the aisle with lunch carts that will block off any chance of someone getting to the restrooms. Sandwiches they now distribute aren’t that bad. When they are done another cart comes down to clear the trash, and then another selling jewelry, perfumes, and expensive watches. Isn’t it enough we paid for seats?
The flight is less than two hours long. When we have docked the desperate passengers jump up to cram the aisles again, removing luggage from the overheads. Now they wait standing once again, another fifteen minutes spent in line to disembark so that they can be first to get to carousels and wait for luggage to appear some twenty minutes later.
We’ve arrived, and now a train to Central Station, Amsterdam. I pray it will not rain as forecasters predict.