Friday, December 4, 2009

At 36,000 Feet

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The Boeing 777 dipped suddenly and then lurched to the right. The seat belt light flashed on immediately casting a wary glow throughout the otherwise dark cabin. Ahead of me, I could see into the first class galley where three flight attendants had quickly huddled around one of their own. An ice pack was produced and applied to the forehead of a colleague. A sheer curtain is drawn to shield the curious eyes of the passengers from what must be a rather frequent occupational hazard when caught short during unexpected turbulence.

We are 5 hours into the flight. Our jet continues bouncing towards the international dateline. No one seems overly concerned. However, the unsteady weather outside is an apt metaphor for the rumblings I am feeling inside as I begin this journey back to Indonesia to work further on Rights of Passage. It is odd to make this trip without Robert who was unable to take the time off work. We have traveled together to these magical islands more than ten times. This time I am flying solo.

At 36,000 feet and 2,719 miles away from San Francisco I feel my energies shift. My daily routine already begins to feels distant. I start to think about being a writer on a mission. As the jet continues to “rock and roll” it seems to be shaking up my sensibilities - urging me to give into thoughts about making this play. Lately, I have been feeling anxious about just getting on with the project but the pressing tasks of our day jobs have been formidable distractions. The plane shudders once more and I decide that the jet stream is insisting that I put these thoughts behind me.

I turn my attention towards the persistent question swirling around my brain since boarding the aircraft. Why so many trips to this part of the world? After careful thought and few more unpredictable air pockets, I decide that every immersion into South East Asian culture has simply been another step towards the play. The desire to tell a story about global LGBT human rights with the highly ceremonial Hindu way of life at its center is very strong. Unexplainably, it just feels right.

For several more hours I will have my head up here in the clouds. I am suspended in mid-air heading towards untold adventures. Without warning, the turbulence has subsided. My feet will be on terra firma again soon enough.

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