In the Air
by Ian Hatcher
The moment of anticipation between when the plane has finished taxiing and before it has begun taking off is settled into a sweet space like the moment of recognition across a crowded room, when you see a stranger and know what will happen soon, some future moments of heat and light crystallized in this prior blast of imminent causation. Between cause and effect, between energy and emergent action, the moment ends and the plane is thrown forward by its electrical switch. It takes off and rises until islands and waterways are reduced to maps in the rounded square space of the window, moving maps which can be labeled at will: pins, pines, needles. Then there is a moment when you see the clouds are closer than the ground, the distance between sky and sand is not only finite but bridgeable, and you are bridging it in less time than you might wait for a bus; then the clouds are entered and separate smoothly into strata, the plane passing through layers as easily as a torpedo entering the sea, and another is visible, off in the haze, a metal grace note falling sideways with this strange misplaced gravity across the earth and not down into it. Then the clouds cover the window and everything is gone, only the plane remains, and it could be anywhere, above or beneath anything, with anyone in or out of control. All that keeps people in their seats hibernating peacefully or absently following along to newspaper rights and wrongs is the faith in the banality of the experience, the faith in the ordinariness of the denial of gravity, the soaring on and sideways manipulation of the crests of these infinitesimal waves. And meanwhile there is a suspension of reality and belief and a suspension of the heaviness of what is actually happening, familiar materials mixing familiarly, falling into places. When this suspension is snapped so goes one's sanity, and others look down on this without really looking down. How is this so easy? Maturity is the deep understanding that wonder is unproductive; after enough wondering we tune it out like traffic sounds beyond a bedroom window impeding sweet sleep; not useful, not applicable, not perceptible. Later during descent the window is laced with lines of water, flashing across like lightning tines, aligned with a soft horizon. Outside the lights shine in color and an oddly false arboreality, corporeality of inconceivable contours. These dusky details become only the background of a night outside that is not necessarily perceived because it is not necessary to perceive. In New York she told me about a small boy on the subway asking questions, where does this go why are the people leaving why are the people coming why are the doors closing how do we move this fast what are we seeing where will we be how do we move at all? And it is endearing and it is darling and then it is annoying because this information is simply not important. Few question how electricity works; we simply accept that it does. The usefulness and practicality of information is paramount to its comprehension; it is easy to skim a paragraph and know (enough of) what is being said as it is easy to skim a person and know (enough of) what should be thought. It is easy to walk through a new and unfamiliar environment and pick up only those details that are important; the mind finds what is necessary and discards what is not. Wonder is not necessary. Separation of component strata is not necessary. Acknowledgment of scale is not necessary. What is necessary is the facilitation and the facile forces at work which allow our juggernaut to move and turn and advance. Smooth sailing in simple winds. But I was talking about the lift, the refutation of gravity. The reversal of the most fundamental nature of attraction between objects. But was I really talking about this or was I just doing it myself, pushing against a flow of energy beyond myself for no reason than some small quiet awareness, an apprehension of a conduit of reversal and reaction and rebuke towards a larger flow that is perfectly aware and also perfectly unaware of these kinds of reactions? That is unchanged and uncaring and... uninterested? But the man next to me isn't looking out the window at all, he simply snoozes, bored, barely willing to be present, waiting for a frame of action and reaction he perhaps better recognizes as an avenue for wonder, one during which wonder can be scheduled and expected and adequately received (recepted) in a manner undynamic (accepted) but practical. Is it fair to make this kind of judgment? Surely not but I can't help but look out and see that the earth is gone beneath the limitlessly layered sky while hearing those faintly sonorous snores beside me and think: if this is normal then anything can be normal.
Ian Hatcher is a writer, musician, and programmer from Seattle. His electronic writing has been presented at the 2008 Electronic Literature Organization and Electronic Literature in Europe conferences and published by Counterpath Press. He composes for the Chicago-based contemporary dance company The Moving Architects, with whom he performs live. As of 2009, he is a graduate student at Brown University.
All Material © 2009 The New Yinzer and its respective authors