The oddest question in any language may be: Do you like flying?
Sure, if you mean like Superman — soaring effortlessly through the air, arms extended, breeze rippling through my steel fiber hair as I gaze down with enhanced vision – even x-ray vision – on all the beauties and wonders of the rolling landscape. Rushing past mountains and over seas, impervious to any possible harm except the chance encounter with a kryptonite meteor. Sure.
But if you mean stuffed into a metal cigar tube thrust forward by highly flammable fuel with the roar of jets and the cries of babies in my ears as I breathe in recycled air and all the aromas 200 people can generate in 4 to 6 hours? Having to endure the pressing flesh of my overweight seat mate as a I choke down bad food and cheap wine and watch films on a tiny screen until my knees ache from sitting too long? To paraphrase Dorothy Parker: I like having flown.
Because I love to go places. Whether it’s places I’ve been often, like Yellowknife, or places I go to rarely, like Boston, I love to go places. I especially love to go new places. This summer there are a lot of familiar trips but the one I’m most looking forward to is my first to Dublin. To walk where Joyce and Yeats walked (and more importantly to drink where they drank) looms large in my imagination. Will I see leprechauns? Probably not but I will see the mists and rivers and stony places that inspired them. I wish I was going longer and that my first visit to Ireland took in more than fabled Dublin but 3 days is all I have. Guess I’ll have to make do with London and Paris — the other part of our European adventure.
Paris is my new old love. Since I’ve been writing detective stories set in 1920s Paris I’ve been there three times. This summer marks the fourth. Walking those streets, seeing that cityscape always takes me back to another time. So off I go today, flying from one end of the country to the other and then across the Atlantic.
I must be crazy because I sure ain’t rich.
And that’s ten minutes.