Dr. Drew's Infrequent Blog

24 October 2005

In-flight Blog

I wrote this en route from Hawaii to Illinois. I can almost never sleep on a red-eye flight. The flight was an interesting experience as far as air travel goes these days. I've now flown so many miles on Northwest that I received a coupon to upgrade to first class if there is an opening. I don’t think I would pay for this, but the service was excellent – especially compared to life in the hold with the junk food snack-box for sale. It was also wonderful to have some legroom. Seats seem to be getting smaller and smaller. I can only imagine what this feels like for most people, who are much bigger than me. First class also came with free headphones, so I watched the in-flight film, Bewitched. The title alone should have been a strong warning, but I saw Michael Caine on screen, and decided to give it a try. He often plays some real annoying characters (which I like for some reason), but mainly I enjoy his voice and dry humor. Films could use more deep and complex characters that involve the art of acting. Howevet, the film was all that I had feared. I don’t think I’ve ever been impressed by an in-flight film (except by how truly BAD some of them are). Oh well. I do enjoy some light films, but the cast really got on my nerves, and don’t get me started on the plot. Oy vey!!

The TV is now showing a psuedo-documentary “haunted lighthouses.” I look up from time to time. Some lighthouses are beautiful, romantic, outposts. The show keeps zooming in on the iron staircase. It reminds me of the bookstacks at the University of Illinois main library. I will see them very soon.

I actually have a lot that I should have been doing, but I instead read a novel before the lights went out. It has been too long since I read a good one. A friend gave me a copy of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, which was quite liberating, but that was quite a while ago. This summer Noriko read a Japanese translation of Kafka’s Trial. She complained about the translation. I remember reading it with such excitement and confusion when I was an undergraduate. I think it was a summer between classes. I found a lovely German edition of some of his works. I think you have to be in a certain mentality though to appreciate his genius. Being a teacher, I don’t allow myself that freedom of being free enough to understand Kafka. When I was a student I could skip a class if I was overwhelmed by a mood or needed to finish a book. Of course, you cannot do that when you run the class.

In any case, this novel is Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind. I am only one-third way through, but I am engrossed. As with my nonfiction, I love nice detailed description that places me in the scene. I like interesting characters. Anyone who knows me and the book, though, knows that the reason I am hooked is it is a book lover’s book, centering around a book, booklovers, second-hand bookstore owners, and the like. It also has the enchanting streets of Barcelona, and faint echoes of the Spanish civil war, and the oppression under Franco. I’ve never been to Barcelona, but have Catalonian relatives who have painted a picture that is almost palpable.

I am so desirous of going back to reading it (to escape the bad aftertaste of the cheap film), but everyone else is trying to sleep so it would be too evil of me.

I am now recalling how much I loved air travel when I was young. I was proud of being able to identify types of planes, and to recognize airlines by their tail logos. I still have a collection somewhere of plastic and metal pilot wings they would give children like me who were so excited to see the cockpit. Many of these airlines are now history: Pan Am, Alleghany, etc. I used to be so excited about any kind of travel. My favorite was trains in Europe. I loved to people-watch, read, watch scenery, and talk with people. I was impressed by my traveler’s intelligence. They read, spoke many languages, had good questions. I miss that sense of excitement, and the art of conversation.

I am now thinking about blogs. I enjoy writing from time to time as a break. I write this mainly for myself, but wonder if anyone reads it.

2 Comment(s):

  • P.S. I finished reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind on the third flight. I see why so many book lovers enjoyed the novel.

    By Blogger Dr. Drew, at Tuesday, October 25, 2005 7:30:00 PM  

  • I'm reading! (your blog, that is!) And it's nice reading your perspective on things.

    Thanks for the author recommendations! After reading everyone else's blogs, I feel quite inadequate in the reading and writing areas...

    I tried to read Kafka a while back... In fact, I had (and still have) this Kafka t-shirt that my parents brought back from Prague for me when I was younger. Although they didn't even know he was a writer, and I did but hadn't read any of his works, I would often wear this shirt because it looked really awesome. Everyone thought I was the biggest Kafka fan because of this shirt. They always had to comment on the shirt. And those that commented were simply impressed that I was "into" Kafka (Their assumption). In reality, I never even finished "The Metamorphosis"! (I can't say I always admitted this because I didn't want to have to explain...)

    Kafka is still, however, on my "to-be-read" list!

    (Sorry... I tend to write anecdote comments.)

    By Blogger Marie, at Tuesday, October 25, 2005 10:22:00 PM  

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