Sunday, June 06, 2004

There was a time when I was scared of flying. Any trips I took were rare and the entire trip had me consumed with equal parts of fear, nervous toilet trips and pure incredulity at the sheer audacity of such a large and heavy object suspended in air against all my reason! Now, many years, and even more flying miles on, plane travel is no longer the wonder it once seemed to be. In fact, it really is so indescribably dull, that even the shortest trip fills me with such a sense of aching boredom to make one contemplate staying home in the first place!

The queues, the waiting, the tedious politeness of hostesses, the inevitable screaming children and the new traveller who is always in front of me in a queue asking inane questions. The major problem with "making the air fair" is that there are people catching planes now that used to be safely packed away on buses and trains. Once of the domain of the rich and fabulous, anyone can fly - and inevitably anyone does.

Interestingly, according to relativity theory a clock on a spacecraft and an identical clock on earth would display different times following a journey into space (the clock on the craft would "run slower"). On a much reduced level, the same phenomena occurs even with plane travel. But I challenge this! When I am on a plane, time does not travel imperceptibly slower, nay - it seems to stand still!

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