Thursday, June 5, 2008

Love Is Several Different Colors

Maybe it’s the U.S. Airways Bloody Mary talking, but all apprehensions I had hopping on a plane this morning have vanished as quickly as the refuse that I’m depositing on the tray of the unoccupied seat next to me. Sure, I’ve already consumed 83 percent of my daily recommended allotment of sodium — and that’s not counting the terrible egg scramble I choked down at the Santa Barbara airport this morning — but I’m nonetheless quite happy up in the sky. I’m flying to Philadelphia for work, but I can’t help feeling as though I’m playing hooky. Here I am, at 3 p.m., with no more pressing obligations than keeping my seatbelt buckled, enjoying the string of hits that my iPod is piping into my head, and slowly disconnecting the dots that bind me during the usual office hours. I enjoy this tomato-like product, which includes 71 percent juice. Why don’t I ever drink tomato juice separate from the ingredients that turn it into Bloody Mary?

Love is Tomato Red.

Adults may be right: My iPod may in fact be isolating me from the rest of society. On the flight from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, the lesser-known works of The Apples in Stereo somehow prevented me from seeing the medical emergency that I caught only as it was ending. The stewardess stood the aisle, holding the feet of a woman wearing salmon-colored platform sandals, not unlike how stirrups hold the legs of women becoming mamas or receiving pap smears. (Neither was the case with Salmon Sandals, I’m pretty sure.) Given what angle those tan feet were protruding, I have to assume that the head anatomically linked to them was cradled in the lap of the woman sitting in the window seat. I’m not sure if they knew each other. They didn’t look to be either sisters or lovers, and the age difference was such that they couldn’t possibly have been mother and daughter. (Then again, plastic surgery has made time travel possible.) I’d assume Window Seat’s generosity was motivated by friendship at best, but even then, when the paramedic came to take the apparently ailing woman off the plane when we landed, Window Seat stayed. Shouldn’t the loved ones and traveling companions of unwell air travelers reap the benefits of early aircraft exiting? Window Seat, you’re a kinder soul than most.

Love is Salmon Pink.

You have to wonder about male flight attendants, those waiters in the sky who so dutifully fill your styrofoam cups and accept your plastic meal packaging like you’re giving them a present. They shuffle endlessly up and down the aisle in their navy blue vests, providing you the means to make a mess and then cleaning up the mess, only to start the cycle over again. I’m not suggesting that the job weighs more heavily on men than it does women, but the male flight attendants must realize that even the most broad-minded passengers suppose they might be gay. Like jerks, those of a narrower train of thought just assume it, I assume. Maybe the male flight attendants don’t care, but I’d be willing to guess that some do, as many straight guys would rather not perceived as being gay. That simple fact makes their job unenviable to a lot of guys, who would much more willingly wait tables on the ground than perform what is essentially a similar but more difficult service up in the air. How is it, male flight attendants, that you’ve come to perform this job? Is it a means to an end? An opportunity to travel? Did you want to be a pilot but accidentally enroll in the wrong class? Do you laugh off the stereotypes? Embrace them? Embody them? Or are you banging your female coworkers in the galley at the back of the plane in an desperate attempt to prove something?

Love is Navy Blue.

I’m wearing by birthday sweater, which sports two colors of stripes: navy blue and a second kind of blue that can only accurately be described as “electric blue.” I love birthday sweater.

Love is Electric Blue.

Much like Window Seat, I also have a window seat. I won’t, however, refer to myself as “Window Seat” because that would be confusing. Also, you should know my name by now. It’s a good view, as airplane seats go. I can see some wing and some of the Below — the best combination, in my opinion. I feel cheated if my view contains too much wing, but if I somehow get a seat that just sees Below, I get nervous, because I like to be reminded that I am, in fact, on a plane and not somehow just floating in the sky on my lonesome. Had I not received a seat with a partial wing view, I’d worry that I’ll fall asleep and then wake up and see tiny mountains and two-point line highways and have a panic attack from the shock of it all. At the moment, however, I feel the plane has ascended to the best possible position, as we’re cruising through the clods and all windows now show only pure white light. It streams in from every window, making the cabin seem impossibly bright, like the set of a 50s movie where happy households glow impossibly from the inside-out. If I can’t see the Below, I can forget how high up we really are.

Love is Pure White.

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