Departures and arrivals

flightWell, I made it back!

It’ll be a little while before I’m back into the swing of things however – once you get out of the habit of writing regularly, it’s surprisingly difficult to get back into the groove, and although I have been maintaining an attempt at a daily diary whilst I’ve been away, it’s really not the same thing as disciplining myself to come up with blog posts, and I feel very much out of practice.

Never mind, as they say – every journey starts with a single step, and so it is that I embark upon this next round of posting.

Actually, whilst it may be technically correct to state that every journey starts on foot, for the vast majority of us these days for any journey of appreciable length the footwork element is likely to form only a tiny part of the whole. My most recent travels, for example, involved minimal walking and relied far more on mechanical means for the greater part… In all, probably around 150 miles by train, about the same by bus, getting on for 6000 miles by air, and a couple of thousand by road, (although ‘road’ is used in its loosest sense here!) – it was fun.

Such a journey, by its very nature, will have its interesting moments: Driving off-road, with a missing shock absorber; being pestered by hawkers wielding machetes and tasers at a petrol station; nine hours layover at an airport because a guy in a uniform insisted I needed a visa to walk to the ticket office; a ‘go around‘ in Istanbul, due to a ‘foreign object’ on the runway… these all spring to mind from the past couple of weeks, but they do ensure that the trip is an interesting one!

Then again, I love travel – the whole thing – to me, the process of getting from ‘A to B’ is as much a part of the experience as the departure from one location and arrival at another very different location. It’s not just about the destination… It’s as much about how you get there too. Which is why, if I have to choose, I’d say that flying is my least favourite mode of travel – unless we’re talking a dodgy old Twin Otter, held together with duct tape, flown by a mad pilot whose idea of in-flight refreshments is to hand around a bag of toffee eclairs: Been there, done that, loved it and would do it again without hesitation. Unfortunately, most flights tend not to be that edgy, and usually involve an awful lot of waiting around in soulless buildings, before an awful lot of sitting around in a metal tube, trying to watch end-to-end movies whilst desperately trying to stave off sciatica and deep vein thrombosis.

Flying really should be a whole lot more fun – if I had my way, every flight would include a last-minute landing abort, the oxygen masks being deployed and an announcement over the PA: “Is there anybody on board who can fly a plane?” – that would make things much more interesting, I reckon.

This, of course, will never happen – gone are the days that flying was romantic, chic and enjoyable – now it’s all about safety, tiny bottles of wine, hand luggage size and innovative methods for sabotaging seat recliners. Unless you fly SL… Because then you can do it any way you want, at least in theory. In practice, it’s not really that simple – it seems that mastering the controls of an SL aircraft require a doctorate in advanced avionics and physics, nerves of steel and superhuman reactions. I’ve flown a 777 in real life, and it’s a piece of cake compared to the average inworld flying machine! (OK – I haven’t really flown a 777, it was just a simulator, and I couldn’t quite get the hang of landings… But, getting up into the air is half the battle anyway, and there’s always parachutes).

My inventory is stuffed full of airborne craft, from balloons and dirigibles to jet fighters, and they all have one thing in common – I have a unique talent for being unable to pilot any of them. Whenever I rez any of my flying machines, I get a terrible sinking feeling and the words of Ford Prefect surface in my brain, quietly mocking me… “Looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow.” 

chopper5_001In fact, I do own one helicopter that flies like a dream – I have no idea where I picked it up or what drew me to it in the first place, but it’s one of the few SL vehicles of any sort that I have any semblance of control over, and I love it. As for all the other flying machines littering my inventory – well, they’re nice to look at, and if I dress the part, I could probably pretend I know what I’m doing with them… But, you know better.

So, if I ever offer to take you for a quick jaunt around the skies, it’s probably best to politely decline!

s. x

Run and tell all of the angels
This could take all night
Think I need a devil to help me get things right
Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly

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