Actually, I tend to romanticize "the old days" way too much. Before I get to the subject at hand, wrap your mind around this: the year 1985 was the most awful year for aviation since Bleriot flew his plane over a cliff. Literally, THOUSANDS of people died in aviation accidents that year, bringing new meaning to the expression "Ten Jumbo Jets Going Down Each Day." And these were MAJOR, MAJOR accidents, not just some cargo plane flown by drunken Russians in the Congo smashing into some bushmeat market after takeoff.
We're talking Japan Airlines 123 here. Did you know, we've now gone SEVEN FULL YEARS WITHOUT A SINGLE MAJOR PLANE CRASH in ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY? Yep, Osama bin Mama was really the last major deal, if you ignore the Air France stupidity a couple of years ago (the French and airplanes have yet to complete their honeymoon).
But last night San Francisco airport was a windless oasis. It was so quiet you could hear pepper spray on Occupy protesters all the way from downtown.
But what really struck me, Flock -- because if you pay any attention to this rambling discourse whatsoever -- is that I haven't really flown since the Summer Disaster to Japan. But how things have changed! I was sitting at a bar in SFO airport -- just your average airport bar. But people -- ALL people were WIRED. And I mean, technologically wired. Including me, with my Kindle and MacBook, EVERYONE except the servers -- and they were wired in a different kind of way -- had a Gadget of some kind. Blackberry, Crackberry, iPhone, iFuck, uFuck, it just blew my mind. Someone is on his iPhone two seats away, asking someone to bring him this book that's written by some blogger. I twig to his conversation and ask if Wi-Fi is free at SFO. Dude #2 next to me assures me that it is, if you complete a short survey. Sure enough, it is, and moments later I'm online and at the website of the blogger Dude #1 is reading whose book. Dude #1 says, yeah! Great blog! And I say "montrealfoodblog: don't forget it!" and he says "Awesome, dude!" (There is an awful lot of awe in San Francisco, and even Chinese shuttle bus drivers like to be called "dude.")
And it went on like that . . . EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PERSON ON EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PLANE had some kind of handheld device . . . me being one of them. Talking, texting, chatting, responding, pushing, beeping, ringing AY YAY YAY YAY YAY.
I can't remember the book -- possibly Brave New World -- where everyone is now isolated in their personal bubbles. They communicate with the Hive Mind through a combination of mood-alterers and machines. Like being plugged in to an IV to get the Thought Of The Moment . . . mustn't miss out on that! And it's bizarre and fascinating all at the same time, when you realize YOU'RE ONE OF THEM . . . you are one of the Hive-Zombies, interconnected with all your other Hive-Zombie friends and loved ones . . . YOUR HIVE-ZOMBIE LOVED ONES, Flock!
And you just don't know whether to embrace it, to have a Group Hug, or deny, deny, deny all the ALLEGATIONS, like Michael Jackson . . . and I think I'm slightly nuts from the combination of high altitudes and machines that defy gravity and maybe I should just check out now and leave you good people alone.