Friday, April 19, 2013

halfway there (scheduled post)

Another scheduled post, written Wednesday night, that attempts to predict how things are going.

At this point, seven hours will have passed. It's 8PM, East Coast time, in the US. I have no idea what the local time is, but I know it's not 8PM wherever I am over the shark-infested north Pacific. 8PM is the seven-hour mark, about halfway through this 14-hour flight. In another seven hours, it'll be 3AM in Virginia, which translates to 4PM Seoul time. In theory, we'll be arriving at Incheon International Airport at 4:10PM.

What will I have done by now, now that seven hours have passed? I imagine I'll have gone to the head at least once, despite my best efforts at pooping-avoidance. Huge as I am, I know that trying to wipe my ass inside that tiny, cramped toilet stall is one of the greatest logistical nightmares of my life. I usually have to stand up, take off a shoe, pull one leg out of my trousers, rest that foot on the toilet, bend my knees to spread my ass cheeks, then wipe while standing. So humiliating, and all because the stall isn't wide enough for me simply to spread my knees and reach between my thighs. (I'm a back-to-fronter, you see—not a front-to-backer. I bet you've always wanted to know that.)

By now, I've probably enjoyed watching a movie or two without any sound. It's something of a game for me to try to figure out what the hell is going on when I watch movies this way. During the next hours, I'll doubtless watch a couple more films. If I haven't been watching any movies, I'll likely have been watching the GPS map of our plane's steady progress across the earth's surface. What would the navigators of old think of today's navigation technology? Would they understand how crucial it is to factor Einsteinian relativity into the proper transmission of real-time GPS data? Satellites orbit the earth at about 18,000 miles per hour, which produces perceptible time-dilation effects. This time distortion has real consequences for the information the satellites send groundward. By comparison, the navigators of old had it easy, what with their astrolabes, crude maps, spyglasses, and basic knowledge of constellations.

After seven hours of flying, my ass will doubtless be hurting like a motherfucker. It always does on long trips. I often find myself leaning forward to take pressure off my beleaguered coccyx. Occasionally, I stand up. A lot of Asian passengers around me will probably continue to stand even if the "fasten seat belt" sign comes on. Asians, despite the rigidity of their social notions, are uncommonly good at ignoring impersonal rules and regulations when it suits them. When we land, you can be sure that many of the Asians will unbelt themselves and grab their bags long before they've been permitted to leave their seats. This will drive the flight attendants batty; I'm sure a lot of them hate flying the Asian routes because of the obnoxious behavior of so many passengers. Why East Asians are so obedient in a classroom or a boardroom, but so annoyingly disobedient just about everywhere else, is a mystery to me.

Seven hours done. Seven more to go.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Asians, despite the rigidity of their social notions, are uncommonly good at ignoring impersonal rules and regulations when it suits them."

Very well put - indeed, the best bit of social/cultural insight I've read today. This also explains, in large part, why I've come to like Korean society as much as I do. Orneriness has its charms.