It’s 12:18 in the afternoon in California. The flight map on the screen in front of me says we’re flying over Milwaukee, so it’ll be late afternoon when we land in New York. So basically, I will have spent the entire day in the air.
And in the dark.
I’m in Row 18. On the left side of the plane, every window in front of me has the shade pulled down on their window – all 17 rows. Same with the right side, except for Row 12.
Except for that one window, the entire plane is dark.
The person next to me has her reading light on, but she’s the only one. A few people are sleeping. Most are staring at a variety of things on their screen in the seat in front of them – movies, TV reruns, games.
It seems strange to spend the entire day in the dark. It’s not something I do at home. When I get up in the morning, I open the shades and windows to let the outside come inside.
I don’t remember flying always being like this. It seems like the planes used to be bright during the day, because people wanted to look out the window.
I know I do.
People pay a lot of money to fly, and they get a view they can’t get any other way. How often do you get to look at clouds from the top? How often can you look down and see the landscape below for miles at a time?
But they close the shades and endure the trip, trying to find ways to make the time go by more quickly. There’s something awesome right outside their window, and they miss the whole thing.
Often, when I have a window seat, I spend the whole trip enjoying that view. I picture my house being a tiny speck in that vast sea of houses, and it gives me perspective. There are a lot of houses out there, which means there are a lot of people in this world besides me.
It’s a good reminder that it’s not all about me.
I think it’s important to get perspective like that occasionally – to actually look out the window and see things as they really are.
Sit next to me on an airplane. I’ll be easy to find . . . just look for the window that’s open in the darkness.
Ready to fly?