fimmtudagur, mars 13, 2008

á ferð og flugi

I used to wonder, in my unnecessarily anxious childhood imaginings, what would it would be like if it happened on a plane in flight.

I can tell you this: The whistle is annoying until I truly wake up and see her facing down the aisle past me. “Hello! Emergency!” and then the whistle again. She is small. Her practical white hair caps her head and frames the glasses that frame her face. Her glance is intense. (No wonder.) I don’t see the color of her eyes. Her whistle is through the teeth, loud and stern, what I’ve always thought of as a country whistle. I can imagine rowdy children being called to order and inside with a whistle like that. I can imagine her having had rowdy children at some point.

The attendants do not run up and down the aisle, but they do walk purposefully. An oxygen tank is carried forward. Later, a black bag the size of a large purse. Still later the steward tries, unsuccessfully, to palm a stethoscope as he moves past. It turns out there is someone, anyone on board, maybe a nurse. They ask over the intercom just like you’d think.

The polite among us try not to gawk, but it is all going on just inches above the level of our eyes where, I learned once in a Conan Doyle story, people are most likely to focus their attention. If I crane my neck, I can see his wavy white hair over the back of his headrest. I work on not craning my neck.

Now they’re starting the movie. It’s a farce of a fairytale. The girl will get her prince, and after ninety minutes or so we will be told that they live happily ever after.

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