Saturday, 20 August 2016

Flying again..almost

I missed my flight. Arrived as it was leaving the terminal. After inserting my passport and a machine telling me I was too late, I suddenly realized my mistake. An addled and complacent brain had  associated 18:40 with 8:40 pm and I was quite out of luck. The sense of shock, vulnerability and disappointment was overwhelming, but my need to continue my journey pushed through this cognitive lapse towards a solution. My phone skills are not enhanced by a lack of hearing due to ongoing peripheral neuropathy, but I managed to extract another booking from the agent, while on hold I contemplated their advertising and muzak, the clock ticking on my limited airtime.
On a scale of traumatic incidences this barely deserves mention. I however felt devastated and impotent, out of synch with reality, ungrounded and adrift. Life goes on as usual, the skytrain whisks us all towards our destinations, the masses of people filing in and out on their way to whatever, where ever. I remained in this state of disbelief and disconnection for some time. Cancelling my train passage across Germany and booking a flight instead. Money talks. My previous obligations and agreements needing to be honoured and met.
 There is, for me, some security and well being, a sense of gravity or grounding in place when I am feeling safe and confident. This shook me deeply. I had made a mistake in calculation and by doing so lost my compass, my sense of knowing or taking for granted what I knew was up and relevant. And I was mistaken! Is this what losing one’s way is like? Dementia or Alzheimer’s? Scary to contemplate being unable to design my own path, control my destiny.  However, I was reminded on reflection of the impact living in a war zone might be like. Constantly aware of impending doom, drone strikes coming out of an empty blue sky. My troubles pale in comparison.
 I have a ticket out of here thanks to the good will of the airline and possibly my entreaties on the phone. No extra financial cost incurred as far as I can tell. So I will continue, a day later. Not much disrupted except for my mental state which once I’m in the air I assume will settle down and level off as I attempt to sleep on this redeye across the Atlantic. No point in sitting beside the window. Travel may broaden the mind but this modern age has us herded like sheep, willingly entering a mechanism that takes us anywhere on the planet. As long as we follow the rules. Always at the mercy of circumstance and our ability to pay. I do feel at times out of integrity with much of the population by my carbon footprint when I fly.
The complexity of it all is almost  beyond comprehension. Actually for me it is beyond comprehension. The number of people employed, all their jobs, technology and organization it takes to get me through security, immigration, booking flights and arranging ground transport reflect upon a massive structure supporting an even larger culture. This has been enlightening and scary, how easily I’m trapped into routine and ignore my sense of scale or context of the bigger picture. I get caught up in my stuff and lose track of the essential nature of paying attention. Mindfulness. Be there or lose your way eh?


  1. Hi Michael.
    I almost felt like crying reading your blog just now, knowing we are about the age, I can relate to the fears that crossed your mind, but hopefully, it was only temporary when you realize your mind is still quite alert and wonderful. Hope you will have an uneventful trip the rest of the way and meet up with Elke in time for a good old German beer and some Bratwurst and Sauerkraut. Prost!

  2. Wow cm. Our a great writer. Loved our visit you will be missed.