Monday, June 24, 2013

On an Airplane

I am on a flight to Cairo, examining the criss-crossing stamp of natural oil that someone else's hand left on the oval window beside me. I am returning from my Nana's funeral.

I flew back to Canada last week, unexpectedly when she passed away. It wasn't entirely unexpected. She was almost 90. Everyone says "she lived a good long life."

Out the window, the clouds are thick. A different kind of thick than the giant grey puff clouds that floated above Toronto when I landed last Thursday. They seemed more threatening somehow, but fluffier.

My window overlooks the engine. Here are the things I am trying hard not to think about:

1. Some bird flying much higher than is probably possible, merrily exploring the upper atmosphere when suddenly our jet engine slices him into an explosion of feathers, propelling us to our doom.

2. The missile that hit flight TWA 800 and the CIA and FBI cover up that ensued. Like might happen to our flight if some stray missile in some practice missile launch was miscalculated or mistakenly decided to propel us to our doom.

3. Climate change accentuated severe and novel weather conditions that might throw the plane out of the sky and propel us, slam-dunk style, to our doom.

4. The chances that the air traffic controller on duty has small children and was up late last night because one had a high fever, one got food poisoning and the other is obsessed with the new video games he got for his birthday last week causing the air traffic controller to fall asleep at their post, failing to catch the two planes on a direct crash course hurtling towards each other at 970 km/h, one being ours of course, that explode upon impact and propel us to our doom.

5. The odds that one would survive in such a situation.
No. that's a lie. I know those odds are close enough to 0 that I don't need to bother wasting my time not thinking about them.

6. My nana.

7. How sad it must be for my mom who just lost her own mother and who's kids are on opposite sides of the globe now more often then she ever could have possibly imagined when she held me in her arms for the first time.

8. How hard it must be to be a mom when the uncertainties in the world already threaten to devour you every minute and then you go and have children, that you would kill to protect, and you still have to accept that their safety is never a given.

I think my own kids would eat me alive.

I know that all I can ever do is give up
and hope for a while
but finally accept that even we are not permanent
and that everything must die.

Our life on earth is a gift
With all the joy and beauty and suffering and ugliness which would lose meaning and purpose if it continued forever.
So I breath in,

Wipe my tears away and enjoy the clouds out the window. Their undefined edges and wispy tails. The ocean of whipped potatoes that won't catch us if we fall.

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