When I was a boy I used to look at jet airliners flying in the far reaches of the sky, above the clouds and just under the sun, and I used to imagine how fun it would it would be to fly. Actually, it was something far greater and mysterious than that- it seemed like something totally unattainable to me, something wondrous; perhaps a once in a lifetime experience that would change my view of the world forever.

And actually the first time I got to fly I was still a boy. I remember it clearly too. And it was not a disappointment either; I must say that. But it was ordinary, at least most of it. Or perhaps to put it another way, it felt natural, like being on a ship- it wasn’t odd or peculiar in any way (though take off and landing must have been exciting). I also remember that, as a child, the landscape below me soon grew boring and prosaic: all I could see were a bunch of squares.

Well, I must have flown over a hundred times since then, and I have gone through distinct phases, including the phobic one (which I’m over now). If you ask me, I will still tell you that I think air flight is a marvel. That we can go half way around the world in half a day at nearly the speed of sound is an amazing achievement that would have branded you a lunatic had you predicted it just a hundred years ago. But so many things of our age are that way now.

To sum up, or to fess up rather, when I do fly for the most part I find it tiring and stressful. And it’s the airports themselves that get me the most I think. In the airplane I feel cramped, restrained, and pretty much helpless. I like to think I’m flying, but in reality I’m being flown. The windows are tiny and half the time all I can see are clouds anyway, and the air quality is awful. Still, that we can fly at all is indeed amazing.