Saturday, December 24, 2005

My Home In The Air

The Chinese say money can buy a house but it cannot buy a home. Does that mean that you can have a home without any money? I think so. While on California highways back in the 1980ies, I found that my home was on the roads since I spent so much time on them. I formed emotional attachments to certain highways, streets and buildings which I would silently greet every time I passed them by. I also created homes for me on certain streets, beaches, in restaurants and parks in Saudi Arabia, Japan and Singapore. Some hotels where I stayed for years, with their nice coffee shops, became my homes.

However, I must say that the place that I feel completely at home is in the air, aboard a plane. Somehow, a perpetual traveler such as myself recognizes it as the ultimate "home". It becomes almost a house on intercontinental flights, especially those that are half-full. I migrate to the back
of the cabin and then, if I am allowed to, occupy a whole row all to myself. I can read books, watch a movie and have beautiful stewardesses bring me my two meals a day. The thing that makes it so cozy for me is the fact that I am no longer located in any particular country- I have departed the one I was in, had my departure stamp put in my passport, but still have not arrived in the one I am flying to. This gives me a sense of emotional freedom as I am not a guest, not a resident, not a citizen. I am just what I am- a traveler.

I gaze down on the earth and I am aware of the fact that people down below no longer have any control over me. They cannot see me, talk to me, scold me or gossip about me. I am out of their clutches and will be so for many hours to come, something that I am going to savor along with the red wine served by the chraming young ladies in thier fresh uniforms.

I am surrounded by people who are passengers and travelers just as I am, but I am not feeling that I am in their country or that they are in mine. We are all ten kilometers up in the air, relaxing, watching movies, drinking beer and wine and are being lulled to sleep by charming young girls. There are no bosses, no coworkers, no juniors or seniors, and we are all equal. At least, before the captain we are.

Sometimes I wish I could spend more time up in the air like this, where I experience life at its highest, both literally and emotionally. I was taught that heaven was high above the earth so, hopefully, after I die I will spend a few eons flying as a passenger on some angelic plane. I will settle for the new Airbus- the one with bars and lounges, and, hopefully, it has the same onboard entertainment system as Singapore Airlines. That will be Heaven of all Heavens.

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