100,000 Beats a Day
"You get 100,000 beats a day. What will you do with yours?"
The advertisement from the magazine from the woman to my left on the plane I am ascending into the skies said.
I guess that's the big existentialist question... There are a finite number of pleasures in this world. Which ones will you choose? How will you go about acquiring them? How much fulfillment blah. The guy to my right is wearing a light green shirt with brown hiking pants. We match, My shirt is dark green, my book is dark green, the cover-sleeve on my book is light green. My bag is medium green. The app on his phone is the green of a hearts/poker table. I envisioned him as the future-Chris. Then I didn't. As the flying metal machine took to the air I relished the moment of exultance. My book told me it was one of the most wonderful moments. Verbatim their quote was this:
"Few seconds in life are as ecstatic as those in which a plane ascends to the sky"
I feel as though I have all the time in the world, and my two new friends are brilliantly ignorant of how pleasant their company is.
Up here in the sky the world is wonderful. Yesterday I contemplated kinematics—the effect of how far away something is relative to how fast/slow it appears to be moving—and felt petty anger and despair and beauty and short-lived fulfillment. It was purging. The feeling is the other side of the coin. I am now far away, by vast measure, by hundreds of hundreds of hundreds of feet, far away from the movement of the ground. And here I can see the world as though it has stopped in time for me to breathe and think and contemplate.
I decided upon listening to the writing playlist I created last year. I have not, and will not, add or detract any of its songs. I remember the poetry I wrote based on the harmonies and plucks of strings in "Pulaski at Night". I remember how a friend encouraged me to read it aloud at the poetry breakfast, in front of the girl I wrote it for, the girl I wrote it about. I remember telling him no, him persuading me, me building up confidence, and just as I got up School started and it was again 8:00am and I had to go to English to learn from a tired instructor about how to write meaningful poetry. Pulaski at Night was more than moments in my 10th grade life, it exacted a feeling upon me that my writing, my thoughts and being, were more. More than just words on a page, than just a brief whisper in the discordant crashing chaos of my school. I was the crumbling statue of Ozymandias, my voice strong, my ego towering far above the earth, my words somehow persistent through the weathering of sandstorm after sandstorm.
The woman–now peacefully asleep–holds her arms tight against her chest in a comforting hug.
Her magazine represents a culture. There are so many flaws and ugly, insidious subtleties put in to encourage its reader's insecurity. However, earlier, when I looked at it's pages while she was reading, I noticed exactly how human and easy it was. Everything is right there, not flashy but bold and noticeable. The columns are neat and interesting: one on why the columnist decides the shave the bottoms of her feet; one on what to do with life; advertisements everywhere. The past-Chris wanted to ask her questions in order to get answers about life: what made the magazine appealing, what did she like, etc.
It prompted me to write. Here in the comfortable passenger seat of a plane roaring at 8 times the speed of a car on a highway, I am able to be alone and yet feel more comfortable and appreciated than any moment on the duration of my voyage. I've heard that loneliness is good for self-understanding. That we must endure through specific emotions in order to grow in the true sense of the word. As I look back to 10th grade I understand that it was a year of growth for me, and as I look back on this year I am beginning to understand that I'm starting to flourish outwards.
Planes induce calmness in people, and though we fear we could die if the wings collapse or drift too far upwards, and though small children interrupt it, it remains to be a place of solace. A temporary moment of transition from one destination to another.
There's a scene in Bojack Horseman that allows us to cope with the cruelties of the world.
The woman is now playing Candy Crush. I read a statistic on how many women around the age of 35-45 who play. The temporary dopamine signals success and allows her to cope with insecurity. Or she's bored. I have only a few ideas, and they all have the potential to be completely wrong. I must wonder if she's truly happy, or if she'll ever be truly happy. The flying metal machine is now descending and whirling down. It's beautiful, and with the window having been shut for her comfort I haven't been able to see how high up we friends are. I know neither of them. I will not see them again. They are temporary, as all of us are. On the plane over to Florida I finished Sandman volume 7, and here I am wondering the same things as I did then
How poetic, I finished my article as the plane slowed down to a roll.