Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Equanimity: the Name of the Game

When one has to kill a total of 20 hours on airplanes in flight, there are several strategies that can make the time fly by. The most important first step is pre-planning: select an aisle seat, especially if you are booked in the cattle car section. Being able to hop out of an economy class seat without stepping over grouchy seatmates every twenty minutes or so gives one the illusion of freedom and normalcy of movement. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier to invade the snack corner at the back of the aircraft, where junk food provides a tummy expanding experience that relieves temporary restlessness.  

Once strapped in and cruising at 32,000 feet, many other tantalizing options await the tech-savvy traveler. Provided that the flat screen on the seat back in front of you has been designed for people over the age of twenty for simple navigation, it is easy to escape into movies, TV shows, music, and inflight shopping. (Nix the last option unless you want to buy a duty-free carton of Marlboros or a $5,000 watch).

The downside to all this amusement comes with eye fatigue, content fatigue, and a general malaise if the programmed entertainment just barely meets your approval rating. So after watching two or three movies, eating three meals and five snacks, going to the bathroom ten times, and having the good fortune to have dozed for a full fifteen minutes, the next best option is developing a sense of equanimity. 

In the case of interminably long flights, this stellar quality prevents suffering born of claustrophobia and other physiological affects of being hurled through the upper atmosphere. Wherever you go, there you are!

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