Another really unnatural thing that we do.


I’m not scared of flying. I tolerate it, because it is WILDLY CONVENIENT. I worked at Sydney International Airport in the departures section in Duty Free for about three years, and it always filled me with gallons of bewilderment the way people behave in airports. Oh, your MIRACULOUS FLYING BUS WITH WINGS IS LATE BY TWO HOURS? MAYBE YOU CAN JUST CATCH SOME OTHER FORM OF TRANSPORT WHICH ACTIVELY DEFIES THE RULES OF GRAVITY. YEAH, YOU SHOULD HAVE CAUGHT THE TELEPORTER, THEY’RE MORE RELIABLE AND FICTIONAL.
 Fuck you gravity. I’m shouty today.
But seriously, the fact that the entire world can be accessed via a day or more of sitting in an uncomfortably vibrating chair strapped to a giant motor and flimsy manipulation of aerodynamics is something that we should still be slow clapping at.

“Yeah, I’m going to be late. My miracle-chair has to fight dragons.
 I know, can you believe it?”

The other thing about flying is that it’s always guaranteed to pop up in a conversation about what superpower you want. I can understand that, I’m sure it would be a remarkable feeling being able to glide effortlessly through the air. I think the key to that statement is effortlessly – I can get behind the kind of weird supernatural air-thrust that Superman does. (I can get behind Superman’s air thrust? Wow.) But what if it involved having enormous, albatross style wings. For one, they’d have to be huge to lift you, and then you’d probably never walk again, or fit through doorways. Two, they’d probably be a lot of hard work to flap. In order to get anywhere substantial, you’d need Olympic levels of fitness. I’d have to say, having giant wings on my back would probably motivate me in ways that shotput never did, but still.
I have a certain friend who I love very dearly, but in one of those conversations he put the most hilarious image in my head. He was arguing for having wings, the majority of his case leaning towards the beauty of looking like an angel, rather than the half-man half-seagull I tend to imagine. He then said, no joke, “imagine the erotic possibilities”.  Now, I don’t know if I’m some kind of repressed square, but the ONLY erotic possibilities that I can imagine for a dude with giant wings, is swooping out of the sky and pecking people with his penis.


Personally I’d choose teleportation for my super power. Or immortality.


Despite my earlier impassioned plea for the marvelling of flying, there’s no going past the fact that the 42 hour flight from Sydney to Qatar with the 7 hour stop off in Abu Dhabi, or as I like to call it, ‘the land that shops forgot’ (This was over fifteen years ago, mind you. These days it’s like a gaudier Las Vegas mall.) is an ordeal. Especially if you’re like me, which is like if you got a normal boy and stretched it.
The last time I flew internationally, me and my sister were going to visit my dad in Dubai for Christmas. After a few hours, when I realised that Kerouac’s less popular novels were a really uninspired choice for flying, I decided we should have a drink. Julia agrees. So we order two gin and tonics. After they sip, I wonder if I somehow forgot to use the word ‘tonic’. To all appearances, we had two giant tumblers full of straight gin. Still, when in Rome.

So we choke them down, and settle back. Until I realise I’m intensely drunk. Even when I was sixteen, it took at least TWO lemon Ruski’s to get me drunk. Then I hazily remember that each standard drink is worth 3.5 at altitude. Or something like that. It was hazy, and I’m not fact checking at this late point. So, I decide I need to pee, and stagger off. Note to everybody – walking trashed down an airplane aisle is HILARIOUS. There’s somebody in the bathroom, so I smile blearily at a lady standing in the aisle. She says, in a thick English brogue of some kind,

“Don’t mind me, I’m just doing my squats. Doctor told me I need to do them for deep vein thrombosis!”
I regard her squatting with great interest, agreeing with her. “No, nobody likes thrombosis of any sort.”
After a few more moments, I ask if I can join her. She is surprised, but willingly runs me through all the different squats we have to do to ward off flying disease.

I return to my seat, tired by exuberant and with the beginnings of a dreadful kind of nausea. Julia is sitting there with tears streaming down her eyes. When I ask her what’s wrong, she says she has no idea. This makes her cry more.
Flying + gin is a potent combination.


4.5/5 stars


6 thoughts on “Flying

  1. Not to wander off topic here, but immortality would be awful. When the earth gets too close to the sun and inevitably explodes, not only will you be horribly burnt, but you'll be alone and homeless. Just putting that out there.

  2. I'm all about wandering off topic. I wanted to write an entire blog about going off topic once. Anyway. That would be a long way from now, and I'd have a lot of memories to reminisce over on my blasted crust of a planet. Besides, the aliens would pick me up.

  3. For a minute I thought you were talking about which country you'd want as the world super power … I was like, what does flying have to do with the comparitive (de)merits of China and America?

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