Thousands of feet above the Nullarbor, listening to the same song – on repeat – for four hours and with an open laptop, I found my zone.
My jacket lay over my thighs, giving the impression I looked forward to a spell in a retirement home. The emergency exit seating played a key role; loads of room for unpacking/packing the laptop, stretching my legs, rifling through notes before stuffing them back into my baggage. Another key ingredient: my neighbours, on both flights, kept to themselves. I sucked on a Vicks and tried not to suck at ‘the writing’.
There is a certain joy, for me, in not being able to be distracted; even now, I’m texting and responding to Facebook Messenger. Up in a plane, with no opportunity to X-Box or pinball or search the fridge really focuses the mind. As the inner voice reminded me that, ‘Perhaps, an in-flight movie would be of interest,’ I argued that prizing myself out of the airplane-writing-cocoon would be a hassle. I continued to type.
Upon landing in Sydney, I mentioned to others that I’d ‘cracked it’ – I’d found my zone. ‘Let us all join hands in the skies and write as the birds might’…no one agreed.
‘Ugh, it’s so uncomfortable.’
‘I can’t concentrate up there.’
‘I’m terrified of flying, how could I write.’
It is an expensive way to gain a few thousand words. However, trips to Melbourne, Vegas and beyond now offer productivity…for me, at least.
P.S: On landing in New South Wales, I discovered I couldn’t buy wine after 10pm. These bizarre nanny state rules forced me to visit a bar and engage with the locals; my earlier preference for consuming a lonely bottle back at the hotel now quashed. I dropped into ‘David’s Interviewer’ persona and had a fabulous chat with:
Gustavo: A Brazilian in Sydney doing an English degree – I told him he was in the wrong place for such behaviour.
Roxanne: A Chilean who told me it was her first night behind the bar and that she wasn’t enjoying the attentions of a very, very Aussie guy who frequently groped her.
I’m putting all that down as engaging with life. I really enjoyed their company. Hopefully, it will add flavour to future words – look for Roxanne and Gustavo in a weird tale near you soon.