|Chicago O'Hare approach|
I was wondering what this view from high above means for the longest time. On this day I realized the dominant feeling it gives me. Disconnection from everything and everyone below. When disconnected the Big Question finds me. I'm abstractly aware of all the human visions and efforts that went into building these cities below. I'm aware that the inhabitants of these cities are experiencing emotions, but I'm not a part of it. I've been disconnected too long. Without connection, you do the only thing you can do, drift. While drifting and all your survival needs are met, you feel nothing. No feelings of any sort besides a mild anxiety that you're stupidly wasting time you'll never get back. You hope that while you're drifting that it will dawn on you what you must do with your life or you'll become connected to something you stumble upon while drifting and the Big Question regarding purpose of life can maybe be ignored for as long as those connections last.
Sloane Peterson's seat mate is a little girl who's mom is one of our rampers. The girl's brother is onboard as well but with mom in economy. The brother comes through the curtain and asks me if he can sit beside his sister. I allow it, and Sloane Peterson and I strike up a conversation. She's in the oil business but isn't passionate about it. She volunteers a lot at a pet shelter. Our conversation is interrupted regularly by the kids who also want some attention. We both oblige and then get back to talking. I don't remember the details of the conversation anymore, but what stayed with me was this impression that she is unusually thoughtful and unpretentious. She had a photo from last Christmas of her standing with the crew. She was wearing a Santa hat the crew gave her. This woman is a flight attendant's dream passenger! At the end of the flight she gave all five of us crew-members Starbucks gift cards.
The Boeing 757 followed the Lake Michigan shoreline for a while, past industrial East Chicago, past the Loop's skyscrapers (the iconic Marina Towers are equal in hight to the 757's length) and now it is a yellow grid as far as the eye can see. Normally the grid is brighter this time of the year. The snow reflects the street lights and the sky glows all night long but not this year. All that power generation wasted on sending photons into outer space.
Upon landing one passenger didn't say good bye back to me. I used to think it was degrading saying goodbye to someone who doesn't acknowledge your existence. Now I just feel sad that they declined an opportunity to feel connected. I got my picture with Sloane. We remain in touch.