The carefully rehearsed TSA dance routine: shoes off - belt off - laptop out - hands up - TURN! The fuming, snaking line, always a bit diffuse and confusing at its tail, like a frayed length of rope. The overly chipper and grating voice of the flight attendant. The little passive-aggressive game I play with said flight attendant where I leave my electronic devices on and my seatbelt off, even though I know better. The rote repetition of the safety features of this 737 aircraft. From the seats next to me, the loud, terribly self-important and crushingly banal conversation of two L.A. types, redolent of chewing gum, plastic surgery and the overconfidence of the none-too-bright. The not-at-all reassuring shaking of the silver wing outside my widow. The seat, far more uncomfortable than it needs to be. The captain interrupting the edited-for-tv movie on the back of the seat in front of me - letting me know that we’re passing over Toledo, which can be seen just outside our left cabin windows. The sticky remnants of spilled drinks on my seat-back tray – ghosts of unhappy travelers past. The drunk frat guys a few rows ahead of me – why do they always travel in packs? The claustrophobia, the boredome, the barely suppressed rage.
Playing the piano? Singing? Writing songs? I do that shit for free. This is what they pay me for.