I’ve always liked planes. I like the exhileration of the takeoff, the majesty of the views — especially when you breach the clouds, and there’s just a field of white snowy hills in all directions. I even like, to some extent, the confined space. (I don’t know why, I’ve always been a bit… what’s the opposite of claustrophobic? Claustrophiliac? A claustrophile? It just makes me feel… snug.)
I guess it’s good that I like planes. I’ve flown on around four a year my whole life. And today, I’m getting on a plane to Shanghai — a 12-hour monster of a journey.
It’s not just the flying, though. Part of what I like about plane trips is the enforced immobility. All I have with me are what I can hold in a carry-on — book, my writing, a laptop, an ipod. For 12 hours today (and into tomorrow) I’ll have nothing better to do than get work done.
I’m going to load some podcasts I’ve been meaning to listen to. Some new music. Bring a new novel. A few different writing projects. Research for a couple blog posts. I can organize my laptop. Download some articles so I can read them offline.
And while the plane trip is always, ultimately, less productive than I think it will be going in (thanks to my endless optimism) there will still be at least some accomplishment. And the preparation, the looking ahead will force me to do some things I’ve been meaning to do, like loading new music onto my ipod.
And while I’m losing 15 hours going there, the trip back is always great — when I get 12 hours of work done on a plane, and return home before I even left. (Yes, I understand that I’m not actually time travelling. Shush.)
So that’s why I like planes, and why I’m looking forward to 12 hours of sitting in a cramped seat with bad food.
But did I mention the view?