I am not a nervous flier – years of business travel and countless hours spent in airplanes of all shapes and sizes have made me reasonably comfortable with the various bangs, clunks, and grinding noises associated with take off and landing as well as the roller coaster ride of inflight turbulence.
However the same does not apply to the night before a trip. I don’t know if
it’s the anticipation or simply an unrealistic worry about missing the 0-dark-30
alarm to get to the airport 2 hours before a 6 am flight, but I spend as much
time in semi-awake neverland as I do sleeping, constantly checking the time
‘just in case’ none of the several alarms go off or I don’t hear them.
And the more I try to settle my thoughts and retreat into some sort of a zen
state to relax my mind wanders... and wanders. As an example, a couple of weeks
ago we were due to fly out in the early AM to St. Martin for a short vacation
and, true to form, my nighttime thoughts were not about sugarplums but instead
bounced back and forth between a short vignette I’m working on (and may post
some day if it’s good enough) and how one’s lungs actually work to capture
oxygen from the air – more specifically do they work more like a 2-stroke, or a
4-stroke engine? (I know, but I make no apologies for what the mind considers
important at 3 AM.)
My Grade 9 biology class obviously did not adequately prepare me for that
semi-lucid contemplation, or perhaps I have just forgotten in the intervening
decades, however I ultimately decided it was definitely a 2-stroke operation -
gas in, exhaust out, in one complete cycle. Now you know.
The other subject that consumed what was left of my half-awake-half-asleep
brain, my embryonic story, will not be so easy. I know (or at least I think I
know) that I had at least a half dozen undoubtedly clever turns of phrase that
would leave the reader with an exceptional understanding of the sense and image
I wish to convey. I suppose I should have written them down but I didn’t and so
- pffft - gone with the 5 AM alarm.
As Google has yet to offer a “what I was thinking” feature it’s now back to
hard work to try and reimagine the ideas. Which is unfortunate because I’m
certain they were brilliant, even if they did not include any references to 2-
or 4-stroke engines.