The line moves slowly, at time rather hastily, I get these notions from the gap in front of me, its actually life staring at me through the gaps that I cant fill. Once in a while i feel my cell phone buzzer in my pocket, I actually have to come back to life once this happens. Pluck the ear plugs out, put the page marker in the book, take the cell phone out of my pocket, see who it is, take the call, talk a bit, yaddi yadda yadda, and am back into my shell with a flash. The line moves on a little in the mean time.
Finally its my turn to be at the check in counter, I hand the pretty thai lady my ticket and passport, pluck one of the ear plugs out to see if she has any thing to say to me, shes asking me if I have just one bag that I want to check in, I could have read her lips, didnt really have to take my earplug out for this one, I nod, she smiles, I wonder if she really thinks there was something to smile about, or is she just doing her job…
Soon as she gives me the boarding card in my hand, I have the ear plug back in my ear, shes explaining to me stuff about how I am going to get a connecting flight, and how my bag has been checked in all the way and I have to change a carrier at Dubai…life is staring, im just not interested any more, I’d rather listen to stairway to heaven.
I put the boarding card and passport in my shoulder bag, head for the immigration, destined not to let any one interrupt me in my sanctuary. As I make my way to the immigration counters, there is another line waiting for me, and out comes the book again, and I retreat to my shell again. The line moves every now and then, and the gap in front of me, stares at me from the corner of my eye, telling me to keep pace with the line.
Standing in font of the immigration officer, I pluck out both of my earplugs, he had to take a photograph of me, what a funny photo it would make with a headset settled on my head. They have those yellow markers with your feet marked out on them telling you where exactly to stand. When I was in school, they used to have this parade in the morning every day, and the monitors used to tell every one where to stand, we used to pray and sing stuff, and then all the classes would go off to their rooms, if you looked at the view from the top it looked like a train station with different trains coming in and going out, I believed that then and I believe this now. Only this immigration line looks more like an assembly line from the top with different pieces moving in to be processed and then moving out. Life is not even staring at me right now.
So I pass by the duty free again, dont think I want to buy any thing this time around, there is just enough time to search for the smoking room and puff one away before i get on thi nine hour long flight. The old Bangkok airport had so many of those, there was one at every corner, I ask the Star Bucks lady for directions, she says its on the second level, im not even interested in asking her where level 2 is, i am on the top level, have to go down listening to Hysteria by Def Leppard. I was in high school when this came out, my friends and I would blast this in our car as we did those drive bys, life actually existed then, I didnt really have to wait for something to happen for me to look at life, I was living my life.
The smoking room has two more people in it, I sit down, light my cigarette, read the book, finish the cigarette, walk out. There were people in the room, people I could have had a peep inside the life of, and let them have a look at what I was living through, but I would rather listen to Hysteria, those were the good old days.
Passing through security, through the passage into the plane up until my seat was pretty much transparent. My seat is in the middle, the worst kind. There is a yound lady on one side, looks english, and on my other side is an old man, looks like an arab. So I stash away my bag, hop into my seat, take the book out, and retreat into the comfort zone.
And then the song ends, as soon as the song ends, I hear a loud snore, the arab on my left is snoring like crazy, I in advertently turn to look at him, out of impulse I turn the other way to look at the lady, and she is staring at the man as well. Our eyes cross, I pluck my ear plugs out, to say hi, the snoring is just too much, and I dont want to socialize, so I nod, she nods, I put my earplugs back on, turn the light on and embed myself into the book again…
One of these days, I am going to stop flying economy, and I am going to cut down on my travelling, and I am going to relocate to the south of France, and I am going to write so much more, maybe paint as well, watch movies all the time, read books the rest of the time, goto wine tastings, I am going to live life one day…
Life looks at me, stares at me, every moment, telling me now is the moment and that it is passing me by, I would rather live in the past, or the future, knowing that life is right now, whats gone is gone, and what is to come is no more than a dream.