Off today to the airport, airplane, airborne. It is so absurd, the idea of all these people willingly flinging themselves into space, or at least thin air, in a thin metal tube, piloted by regular human people types. FLING! It really takes a lot of trust, or ignorance, or ignorant trust. Yes yes I know, flight safety is better than cars blah blah blah. It’s still a crazy thing to do.

My fellow flingers today are a pretty damn quiet bunch, or it could be that the incredibly loud engine by my seat at 26C is just masking the horrors of screaming infants and nattering elders. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, goes the engine, like the loudest seashell ever. The seashell would have to be like, skyscraper big, but that is the kind of noise it is.

The flight always feels longer when you have young children along because I am hyper-vigilant that my kids are not little Plane Shits. No kicking the seat in front you, no loud voices, no flinging food, or any other such obnoxious crap. The teen and the pre-teen are fine, absorbed in an ipod and Nintendo DS respectively, although the pre-teen has an early moment with a chewing gum issue. I turned back to look at him, and his face and DS stylus were covered in orange globs and stringy strands of gum. His older brother laughed and laughed, and I sent Gum Boy to the lav to attempt to clean up. I didn’t ask how the gum got on the stylus.

The challenge passenger is the five-year-old. Well, I can so far say that at least she has not had a screaming meltdown, which is new for this year, and did not dump an entire apple juice can on the airplane floor. Progress! She is a hyper thing by nature and even when belted in squirms and wiggles and goes from one thing to the next: draws, reads, talks, raises the window shade up and down and up and down, almost kicks the seat, asks for food, asks for water, asks to change seats with her brother, puts shoes on wrong feet, plays with all the zippers on her new backpack, takes a ribbon off the backpack and attempts to tie it on the tray table, sticks stickers on me, knocks her head against my shoulder repeatedly, starts singing, sticks hand back to poke at teen brother, grabs food off my tray, tries to nap and fails, REPEAT ALL AD INFINITUM. And we have another hour and some to go yet. She is now eating a chocolate chip cookie, whose melty goodness is spreading over her face and hands. The flight attendant walks by and hands me another napkin. Tick tock tick tock.

Somewhere over western Minnesoter now, flat brown and green squares below us, cruising at a fun-lovin’ 35,000 feet. With any luck, we will land smoothly after another 393 miles, have five unmolested bags waiting for us at baggage claim, have a non-felonious Super Shuttle driver, and see an icy cold beer waiting in the fridge at the final destination point.