Flight to Dallas,

Posted: 2 February, 2016 in Daily Droppings
Tags: , , , ,

Christmas 2015

I almost wrote 2016. There is so much talking in the news not just the past week or so, but the past six months of the 2016 election it’s hard to remember the year hasn’t even started yet. Amid the horse race politicking soul sucking poll fucking noise I am the most relieved I have ever been for a delayed flight. The security line ran four snaking rows deep in length of the terminal front before even reaching the stretched blue nylon barriers which ran another six rows. It seems security is a convenience issue as we are told bins are unnecessary. We keep on our shoes and coats, no need to remove laptops not using scanners, just metal detectors and sniffer dogs walking the lines making me worry briefly that I forgot to ditch the film canister of narcotics at home, but I know I took out the trash and turned off the Christmas lights so the tree won’t catch fire I did leave the heat on… oh well
We don’t pay for electric.
I am surprisingly awake for this hour of the day and this far into the flight. Overlooking a river that makes me think of spiky tentacles or maybe the thorned horns of a devil. And ponds. Thousands and thousands of ponds.
Maybe it’s turbulence, maybe it’s the man sitting next to me.
He’s wearing this skull cap. Not like a wool knit type. It’s red, non-stretchy denim. It’s dirty, covered in black splotches of what looks like engine grease, but it could be something of black paint. Medium length beard, from where I sit, I can see through it in parts, meaning the hair is thin and has been grown out for some time deliberately to give the impression of being fuller and thicker.
No cloud cover clear to the horizon.
His jeans are the same, dirt hardened through, covered in more black splotches. He’s got thick forearms and a gut. The build of a mechanic or carpenter. Someone who uses their hands but doesn’t move around much. His shirt is the one clean thing. Something out for a special occasion. First wear, by the lack of wrinkles and vibrant never washed colours. Pearl snaps.
The thing that’s bothersome about him though, is his lack of activity. Since I sat down, he hasn’t moved. Hasn’t spoken. No headphones on his ears, no phone in his hand. He’s not sleeping. Not even looking out the window. He just stares at the seat in front of him. Straight and a touch down at the tray table. He doesn’t lean back. In fact, he sits up, almost straight.
When the flight attendant comes by with the drink cart he breaks the statuism to order a double jack daniels and coke. It puts at ease. I’ve always thought of jack and coke as an everyman American drink. He dumps the two bottles in the plastic cup of ice and gives them back to the air hostess before they’re done with our row. He pours in the coke, drinks half, refills it with more coke, finishes it.
While waiting for the hostess to return, well, not waiting really, in the meantime he goes back to his stoic stare. Only now his hands move. He pulls off the tab of the coke can and begins to shred it.
His eyes are still ahead which is why I can write about him so close by. He shreds the tin till it’s a jagged crumpled heap then holds it as though it were a bird’s nest.
The hostess comes back and we drop our cups into the plastic trash bag.
He goes back to staring.

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