38,000 feet Above Lake Winnepeg.

24 Sep

It’s twenty minutes past midnight but the sun is still streaming through the window. In fact my neighbour has just had to pull the blind down. All my friends and relatives back in Britain will be tucked up in bed as their day is over and night has fallen. However, my day just seems to go on and on. I am travelling backwards in time, constantly chasing the sun and escaping the moon.
I’m flying westwards to Denver, Colorado. It’s another “holiday of a lifetime” that I have been lucky enough to indulge in since retirement. The plane is full of silver-haired retirees like myself. We are getting in our long-haul journeys while we can. Our watches tell us we are in the small hours, but it’s only early evening local time. A surreal situation has emerged. Our minds are still active but our bodies are weary. The long journey is messing with our internal clocks.
The inside of the aircraft cabin is dominated by the unrelenting drone of the engines. I have been trapped here for 7 hours with another near 3 hours still to go. If I allow myself to think about it, I might well have a panic attack. I instruct myself to stay calm and breathe steadily. I’m distracted by looking down on to the white Canadian clouds, momentarily recalling Joni Mitchell recalling “life’s illusions.” Every now and then I get up to flex my legs and waggle my toes to try to avoid getting a DVT. My mouth feels stale and my body very tired. I started this endless day clean-shaven and fresh, but now I sport the sandpaper cheeks of unwelcome designer stubble.
It should be the middle of the night but I’ve just been served a sandwich and a cup of tea. It’s bizarre. Now I’ve been given a scone, a small pot of cream and some jam which is squeezed out of a tiny tube. I try to eat and drink while cramped in my seat. The electronic screen in front of me says we are flying over Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba at 38,000 feet. It’s not often one gets to say that!


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