Poet Gary Snyder once called his airplane window seat his little “hermitage in the air.” A place for solitude, for reading, writing, free to let thoughts roam with the clouds below and marvel at the world out the window. I’ve enjoyed the same, but lately have been opting for the aisle seat. Without the window view, the sensation of travel changes and it’s simply time spent in a long narrow room.
Today’s flight from Madrid to Newark offered 60 movies. That’s a long way from the single screen with one film per flight and your fervent hope that you hadn’t already seen the movie. So now flying for me has become a trip in a portable movie theater. The length of flights are determined by the movie time unit— a three-movie flight, a two-movie-plus-one-TV-show flight and so on. Nothing takes me out of time like a movie and though I still enjoy reading and writing and my ritual Crostic, all three are hard to sustain for the 10 hour flight. Nothing like spending the day with Miss Congeniality, My First Wives and The Gangster Squad to pass the time.
The screens are tiny, everyone’s plugged into their private films and it’s a pretty expensive way to go to the movies. But the cool thing is that people come by to serve you drinks and food and when you walk out of the movie theater, you’re in a completely different place! And you don’t need to remember where you parked the car! Two flights to go, just enough time for one more movie and one TV show. Pass the popcorn.