Night Flight: Musings and Poetry


Here I am, on the last leg of the flight. All is dark and quiet. Most people are asleep. The only sounds are the steady roar of the plane engine and the strains of Arabic pop coming through my earphones. I can look out the window and see pricks of light. I am suspended between the stars above and the scattered gleam of city lights below. The German kid behind me is probably wondering why I have my head pressed against the window, staring out at the night. Even if I really wanted to, I could not explain to him the magic I find in being between. Between earth and sky. Between stages in my life. Or, as I experienced at the Abu Dhabi airport, between Eastern and Western cultures.

The experience of being caught between two cultures is an awkward one. Where do I really fit in, anyway? Do I fit in at all? Am I the obnoxious, overbearing American tourist? Do I fit better with the scarf-swaddled, subservient Arab women? Am I with the dark-skinned, brightly clothed Africans? My blue eyes probably exclude me from the last two options, but I would like to think I'm not the first, either.

Of course, I am not the only one who is out of place. I was approached in Abu Dhabi by an almost-toothless little Indian woman clad in a bright pink sari. She asked me lispingly where the 'bashroom' was. I waved her in the right direction, but she managed to get herself into the men's prayer room. As there were several doors along the hallway and I did not want her to end up in the men's bathroom, I escorted her to the right place.

So maybe, being between is a very good thing. Maybe, my uncertainties enable me to recognize uncertainties in others. 'Betweenness' certainly makes for some good stories and grand adventures! I intend to enjoy my 'between time' fully, and someday, when (and if) I ever get things sorted out, I hope to look back and say, "now wasn't that jolly?"

In case you're wondering where the poetry mentioned in the title is, it's here.