Sunday, March 13, 2011

-- The Flying Pencil --

This is something I wrote some time ago for a magazine here in Dublin, it hasn't been published yet but I thought it'd be nice to share it with my Dear readers first.

It's titled "The Flying Pencil" and it's a short narrative about someone wandering for some minutes what it would be like to have a different job and be someone else. Hope you like it.

"Open your seat belts, come this way, jump and slide", a statement constantly wandering around my mind while I nervously climb up the stairs while looking at the big engines being started and rolling for a journey into the air.

It is forty-six degrees Celsius outside and some drops of sweat slide through my forehead, yet I rapidly wipe it with my sleeve as a bus full of passengers arrive at the door step.
They all look tired and smothered, specially after knowing that their plane has been a little delayed due to severe heat. I still try to put on the best smile they could possible get for their ticket price and try to forget about the long flight from the Land Down Under the night before as my body claims for some rest and some catching up with any time zone.

So after playing with my mind thinking about my family, telling myself a joke or thinking about the sightseeing session I will be performing when I arrive into my destination, I smile and greet my passengers.

Shy "Good Evenings" jump off my mouth as my cheeks feel sore of all the smiling, yet my beloved passengers are tired and can not be bothered on replying as they find their seats and over take them as fast as a tsunami over take and floods an Indian Ocean island , now I know how trees must feel some times.

"Oh Sorry Sir, I think that bag must be bigger than what it is allowed" triggers a dangerous bomb inside the passengers mind but in the end I must remind them that I did not designed the plane (even though I would love to) but I will let the Airbus Industrie know about it when I write a complaint letter full of very 'pintoresque' words in different languages.

As I close my door and I say Good-bye to the Middle East summer, things change inside this metal tube: A middle-aged woman grabs me by the arm and ask me if I could tell the pilot to fly lower so she would not feel scared of the altitude. An egyptian man with a very thick accent asks me for Panadol, a businessman from Bombai asks me for a glass of water while he wanders about what to eat for dinner and three Japanese girls smile and take pictures of everything around.

Engines work their full power leaving a big cloud of brown dust on the runway and we see the desert lights fading and being left behind while we reach our cruise altitude and a festival of call-bells awaits to be answered.

A curry smell invades the cabin, meals are ready and I roam through the aisle pretending I am a model and pushing a heavy cart while I distribute meal trays with one hand , prepare drinks with the other and clean the floor with my leg ( ok, the last bit is a lie, cleaning is done after serving the meals).

A dark-skinned passenger stares at me while I hand him his tray, at first I think it is just awkward but then he starts staring non-stop to this delicious and full bottle of whisky decorating the top of my cart. He does not speak English nor can not read and he shows himself very shy , as if it was a sin to ask for booze on-board. His tired facial features make me believe that he is probably one of the thousands laborers involved into the "Modern Age Slavery Scheme" performed in the Middle East, I can imagine his reality , working every day for the past three-years, supporting temperatures of over fifty degrees Celsius and earning enough to survive and send the rest to his family back home. So there I fill his glass with the best booze an Economy Class ticket can buy.

Meals distributed and my empty cart reminds me that I have not eaten in hours ,so I improvise a seat on the galley and eat an apple while a tempting tray of Chicken Tikka winks at me , "Must remain fit" I tell to myself as I finish my apple , drink a glass of water and finish my fest with a tasteless cereal bar.

Captain has announced Final Descent into our destination and I tell my passengers to fasten their seat belts (and why not, their own belts) as I run through the cabin looking important and glimpsing some green land out of the windows.

As the plane just floats, guided by the air running under the wing and engines practically dead, I think about how little things are always taken for granted, so something insignificant as a bed becomes a priority at this time of the day, even though I am sure that my traveling spirit would tell me to arrive into the hotel , change into my 'civilian' outfit and go sightseeing. In the end ,not every person in the world has the chance of seeing three continents on the same week.

Green fields get closer and closer and suddenly I see my hand-guided pencil landing into my wooden desk. My laptop is showing some pictures of my sons as screensaver and my "Best Dad Ever" mug is now full of cold and tasteless coffee. I have a long and heavy day ahead as two major projects have landed and piled up on my desk and I need to finish them so I can have a "well done" slap on my back from my boss and leave this small cubicle.

I take a deep breath and start working, in the end, I have never been on a plane and I despise traveling.


On the other hand, I'm working at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, I'm having great fun in there and have tons of stories to share, specially because our customers are tourist and everyone comes from a different background, country, culture and have many stories to share. I'm gathering some stories to share with my readers again.
It will also be St. Patrick's Day in Ireland this week (or Beer and Drunk Day as I call it) and of course, I'll be working!. That will definitely pull some interesting things to talk about on my next post.

Airlines are coming to recruit to the Emerald Isle too so might be time to try to get some wings again...we'll see.

Eventful days we've had around the world recently with the whole Arab World rebelling to their leaders and earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan. To all my readers living there, my heart and prayers are with you, I felt very close to these events, specially the one in Japan where I have family living (they are all safe luckily).

Anyway, that's it for this week. Have a good one!