Sun Ra - Column for 8/2

Flying Low

Been on a lot of planes recently. Flew to South Korea on the 30th of June, caught another plane from there to Mongolia. Thirteen-some-odd hours and two and a half hours, respectively. Two weeks later, it was the reverse trip. Got back on a Wednesday, and flew out Sunday morning for Jacksonville, Florida, by way of Atlanta. Then back from there on Tuesday evening. Then the following Tuesday, which is to say last week, it was off to California. Five and a half hours, that one. And today, Monday, I'm flying back.

I don't like flying. Of course, that's something I have in common with a lot of folks. Although intellectually I know that it's safe, much safer than driving, that doesn't satisfy the creature in my gut who whimpers and grips the armrests with white knuckles when the plane jerks to the right and you can see the body flex down the length of the passenger compartment. Safe? Safe is on the ground, it says. I hate you for putting me here.

It's the loss of control, I suspect. Sure, driving is dangerous - statistically we're all due for one major traffic accident in our lives - but when I'm driving I'm in control. If bad shit happens, the creature thinks, I can do something about it. If bad shit happens to the plane, all I can do is figure out which other passengers will be the easiest to climb over on my way to the emergency exit.

Also, of course, the fact that statistically I'm due for an accident doesn't mean I'm actually due for an accident. Because, frankly, I'm an excellent driver. A hell of a lot better than you are. And you are better than the bulk of the mouthbreathing herds that populate the roads of this nation. Especially around Washington D.C. Good GOD do drivers suck around here. It's like they get into their cars and the first thing they do is to drive an icepick into their cerebellum and stir it around real good.

So saying that you are better than then isn't really all that complimentary. But I'm better by a few orders of magnitude still. Of course, it doesn't always take two to cause an accident, so I'm still at risk of having a semi plow off of an overpass and land on me. But even then, the creature says, I'd have that split second to react and save myself. In a plane crash, all those split seconds are just more time to freak out.

Anyhow, with luck I'll be safe on the ground for a few months now. Planning a trip down to New Orleans in October, that's the soonest. Going to visit my sister there before she graduates from law school and gets the hell out of New Orleans. It's her last year, and she's been ready to move back to California for almost two. Not that I can blame here - I've been ready to do the same since we moved out to this malarial swamp. Sure, there are some nice folks here, and sure, it's urbane and has a fair amount of culture. But it's not Cali.

Anyhow, sucking wet morass that it is, it's nice to have my feet back on the ground. Maybe in October we can take a train.

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra