Friday, October 08, 2010

Japes On A Plane

Thing is about American holidays is that they're immense and wonderful and life-affirming and all that is good about the world condensed into seven days of pure, unadulterated bacon fat. Er, I mean, pleasure.

Thing is about American holidays is that you've got to go on an aeroplane to get there.

Thing is about going on an aeroplane is that it's the worst thing a human can subject themselves to outside of willingly putting the Femail section of the Daily Mail in their RSS feeder.

So here I am: on a plane, writing on a laptop, like a wanker. Actually, bear with me a second while I rummage in my hand luggage:

OK. Now, here I am, on a plane, writing on a laptop AND listening to music on my iPhone FOUR. FOUR. Like a really, really, really, really prolific wanker. A wanker that has put in the wanking hours and really honed his wanking craft to the best standard that an amateur wanker can hope for. (I mean, he doesn't kid himself, he knows that there will always be those with natural wanking talent, the born wankers, that'll be one step ahead of him in the wanking ranking; but he's happy with what talent he's got, because he's worked for it.) So basically, I'm like the...say, RObin Ince of wankers.

That's probably not very complimentary to Robin Ince: for which I will never, ever apologise.

Where was I? Where am I? According to the animated map in my little seat back screen, somewhere approaching the southernmost tip of Greenland, like a recalcitrant teenager giving their first blowie. (Gosh, I'm sorry! I've had a Valium and two large glasses of red wine, and apparantly, instead of sending me into a blissful sleep dreaming of being inside a large and friendly purring lion, it's made me into a filth pervert. This is maybe why you shouldn't mix the two. All that accidental overdose blah blah blah is just a smokescreen so that we don't become an overmedicated, slightly pissed nation of crude-metaphor makers. That would be just awful, like a recalcitrant teenager giving their first blowie! BOOM!) But enough of that.

Areoplanes. Thing is, I don't care about 99% of the usual things that people carp on and on and on and on and on and on about when they talk about air travel. I quite like the food: it's a little three course meal in minature and you often get a bread roll, which is like going out to dinner in the '80s, and you get free booze, for goodness sake! I think it's generally quite admirable. Have you seen the size of the galleys? What do you people expect? A pig roasting on a spit in the luggage hold? Fine, but don't come crying to me when the cabin is filled with acrid porksmoke and you spend your entire holiday fighting off the affections of a ragtag bunch of rascally but adorable mutts in gingham waistcoats who can, for some reason, wink.

And the seats: meh, you know, I spend all of my time sitting. If I was at home, I'd be sitting. If I was at work, I'd be sitting. So I'm travelling somewhere and sitting: big whoop. Again, another thing to admire: we're currently travelling at 500mph and yet we're not all moulded to the inside of the aeroplane's tail, being inextricably flattened to a few molecules deep and several miles wide. People'd really have something to complain about if flying was basically a 9-hour long wall of death. Sitting's a dream, dude.

No no no. None of that does me in one little bit. There is only one thing I dislike about flying, one thing only, but that's enough to ruin the whole experience: TUR. BU. LANCE.

I used to know about science years ago. It's all gone now, to be replaced by endless reams of tweets and snippets from TV shows and the lyrics to pretty much every song up till 2005 when all songs either became about being in a club or having sex with someone in a club or being so, so, so emo and alone in your massive mainstream cultural strata. So I no longer have the scientific wherewithal to understand why a plane can be travelling quite happily and smoothly at 38,000 feet and then abruptly start bouncing about in a terrifying and stomach-churning manner. I get it when you're ascending and descending: I can look out of the window and see the cloud pixies pummelling the sides of the plane with their wispy fists. But at the moment, say, where it's bumpy as FUCK, all I see is clear unadulterated blue skies. I get it in principle: eddies in the airflow. Is he, as Douglas Adams would say. Well, I wish he'd stop jumping up and down on the bloody wings.

There are only two solutions to this that my epic mind can see.

1. Colour-in the wind. Hear me out. It's a closed system up here, right? The atmosphere doesn't escape out into space. There's got to be a way to release a pigment or something into the air which would flow around with the winds or pressure streams or whatever the heck it is that's flopping my orange juice liberally out of its beaker and into my lap. So then we can look out of the window and see glorious stripes of colour streaming round the plane and chucking it around like a child's plaything, and be sated with our knowledge that it's not juddering because the underside of the plane has fallen off and the wings have become imaginary. Bonus Nobel Prize if they can make the pigment look like rubber duckies.

2. Have different grades of "The seatbelt sign is now on", like the terror threats. Enough of this diffuse sense of dread whenever those fateful words are uttered by the cabin crew. I need to be told when to really panic. So we could have the stewards announcing "Seatbelts on but we're still going to be trying to flog you perfume and won't really mind if you go for a quickie in the lavs", then maybe "OK, you're putting your seatbelts on, we're putting our seatbelts on, it's going to sound like the engine's cutting out but don't panic, we're still going to try and flog you perfume by hoiking it down the aisles at you," and then the toppermost poppermost, "JESUS CHRIST! NO NEED FOR SEATBELTS, THIS BIRD'S GOING DOWN! SNAP YOUR OWN NECK WHILE YOU STILL CAN!"

Can't see anyone having a problem with that.

I'd welcome a good layman's explanation of sudden mid-air turbulance from someone who's not Wiki-frickin'-ooh-look-at-me-I-think-I'm-a-proper-scientific-journal-I-don't-need-to-dumb-myself-down-pedia. Brown? JT? Anyone? Bueller? Let me know.

Anyway, better stop for now. Sorry if this was a bit OHGODSHUTUP, it's a stream of rubbish consciousness. It's gone batshit bumporama again and I'm going to put on a eyemask, listen the Watch With Mothers podcast and repeat loudly "Bumpy road, just a bumpy road, just a bumpy road" until someone beats me into a coma. See you in Chicago, babies!


misspiggy said...

I do love your writing. I can't come up with anything better on turbulence than what you said yourself, though. You are clearly therefore a world expert! I think I will find it very soothing to imagine coloured streams of wind throwing the plane about for a laugh next time I'm up in the air.

Nicla said...

That, young Eyes, was an excellent post. 'Wanking ranking' - that's genius, I'm going to use that...snigger.
I hope you haven't plummeted to a fiery death, do have a lovely trip if not.