The little plane on the video screen crawls slowly over the map of terrain,
green line ahead,
at varying scales,
its length stretching halfway from Vienna to Bratislava,
Berlin to Istanbul,
and sometimes the entire width of the European mainland.
I practice trying to be very small, and still, to sleep.
At 3:30am London time, it gets light. The air temperature outside is minus 52 degrees celcius.
Listening to the sound I recorded earlier on my phone.
The sound of suspension,
suspended in space,
in the air,
suspended in time,
the low continuous rushing sound,
and then the quiet sound of my neighbour’s snoring;
the Airbus A380 is a small town of sleeping strangers at 37000ft above the ocean.
Turbulence over India.
Aches in my neck, lower back, buttocks, right thigh.
I’ve found that if I sit still enough, eventually I’ll feel less uncomfortable,
or fall asleep, whichever comes first.
Comfort is relative.
Time is relative.
This ‘morning’ which is 7:35 London time,
“apple or sandwich?”
is 14:34 Singapore time,
but what is local time at this point on the planet?
How do I calculate that?
If the ground is that zone below, on, and above the surface of the earth,
determined by being inhabited by humans,
sustaining human activity,
how far above and below the surface does that zone extend?
Is this airspace an extension of the ground?
Woken for breakfast, 9am London time, 4pm Singapore time, two hours from Singapore…
The gradual change in altitude on descent seems to impose an equalising filter on hearing,
sounds become thin to the point where the bass has all but become inaudible,
the middle frequencies also subside to leave tinny top end,
pressure in the ear becomes physically palpable,
I swallow and ‘plop’, the bass returns.
Soon after landing in Singapore
11am London time,
it gets dark,
six and a half hours drifting in and out of twilight.