Friday, July 30, 2010

Life in Flight

It takes about an hour to relax.

After all these years, all these hundreds of flights... I am still always, always last-minute getting to the airport. And since I really fly out of only two airports (JFK and LAX), I'm a Jedi at getting to each. And even though I fly solo these days, I have to think that my timing would be exasperating (to say the least) for anyone who accompanying me who is less last-minute than I.

Today, it's LAX. Where my flight is at 3PM. Lemme lay it out for you:

1:12:walk off the lot (Paramount, Van Ness @ Melrose).

1:16: realize that I have left my car keys somewhere on the lot. (Production Office? Set? trailer?) My 1:15 exit was tightly timed as it was, so this has the potential to Majorly Suck. Because the lot is BIG.

1:23: walk off the lot, take 2. (keys were on set-- in the shot! Well played, PK!)

1:28: pull out of the parking structure and onto Melrose... to McCadden... to 6th... to La Brea... to the 10... to La Cienega.. to La Tijera... to Airport... to the hated Lot C.

2:04: Score a prime parking space! Just make the shuttle bus! I RULE!!

2:14: at AA Terminal 4.

2:29: at the gate-- and I get the Upgrade (sa-weet!)....

3:21: plane leaves the ground. (Frequent Flier Note: when the captain comes on and announces the "estimated flight time" it's usually accurate TO THE MINUTE. It's spooky.

So between the lot and takeoff, it's a tense two hours. Naturally, it takes about an hour to let all that recede.

And after all the drama, here's the thing: I find myself in one of these seats roughly every two weeks. I love it. I love the white noise of the engines and the fans. I love the fast-forward sunsets (I ALWAYS get a window) and the way the sky fades from blue to orange to black. I love the disconnect from worldly things. Truth? I'd do this every day, if I could. The food in Business is good, the wine's great, the service is phenomenal (why can't I have a Waiter Call Button at a bar?)-- and don't get me started about that view.

And, about an hour in... something unwinds. And for this moment, I am nowhere. I'm not here, I'm not there. Nobody's yammering on a phone. There is no text to reply to. I am a happy captive, here in 7A, and I can, finally, think. And breathe.

And see, finally, that those postage-stamp towns are like life, in a way: the events that seem so important up close are impossible to even distinguish from here. But the feelings, the love... funny, how distance and time have no effect on that.

I both love and hate my life for being forever mysterious to me. How is that possible? But I suppose that's why we make movies. They're a clumsy, beautiful attempt to explain it.

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