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I'm mid trip on a redeye flight to Austin from Portland sitting in a noisy, brightly lit food court in Houston. By my clock it's 3:30 in the morning, although locally it's 5:30, it's still that in-between where it's not really night or morning, just that surreal sense of timelessness you get when you're trapped in the airline system for any length of time.
This is the modern land of Faerie where time has no meaning and you're whisked from your warm bed to faraway places at unimaginable speeds. The fact that this surreal world is so mundane with 50's oldies and the sound of fryers doesn't make it any less surreal or miraculous. Of course, dressing it up in poetic words doesn't make it any less annoying -- but then I think the land of Faerie was probably pretty annoying to the rare sober Irishman who wandered in.
The flight from Portland to Houston left at 11:59, maybe actually lifting into the air at the witching hour itself. Most people were already snuggling down with the airline's tiny pillows and blankets before we took off. Personally, I always stay awake until we're up, partly because take off and landing is the most interesting part of the flight, and partly because (as it's the most dangerous as well) I don't want to wake up dead.
In the air there are countless miracles of technology -- this flight had TVs in the back of the seats so everyone could choose their own show to watch at the wave of a hand. A hand waving a credit card through a card reader, that is. But then Faeries taking money from you while you race above the clouds is part of any good tale.
At some point in the flight I tiptoed down the aisle to use the facilities. A hundred men and women all facing the same way, almost all asleep faced me. They woke up a couple thousand miles from where they started, and if they had to walk back, it would take them months if not a year, if ever...
It's a world of mundane miracles, and I only wish I could have gotten comfortable enough to sleep through them all too...