She fidgets. It is so painfully boring, she thinks, to be idle. How people manage it she’ll never know. She taps her armrest; stretches her legs; plays with her hair. She’s no idea what to do, and the idea of sitting still for the next three hours is not one she finds herself wanting to entertain. It’s the most annoying thing she has ever had to deal with, even though she does it regularly.
Flying has never been something she enjoys – the stuffiness of the plane, the unwarranted intimacy of the unbearably close seats, the weird smell that always lingers until long after you get off. In the dark cabin, she’s rendered helpless. She can’t read, she hasn’t the concentration for a film, and she definitely does not plan on making conversation with her neighbour. Sleep would be an option, she thinks, if she hadn’t exhausted it during the first half of the flight. Now, with nothing to do except to sit still and keep thinking, she wishes she had the capabilities of making time move just a little faster.
People are staring. Her constant movement becomes an irritant to any fellow passenger trying to do something actually time consuming and worthwhile. The minutes pass as quickly as it does when one is in a state of urgency – as slowly as possible. Her eyes flicker to the digital numbers at the top of her phone screen every few seconds, hoping that that 3 at the end will turn to 4, then 5 then 6. Its laborious, that movement of her eyes. There is nothing to fill up that slot between each slow, tiresome second. Her music has certainly lost its appeal – there’s no point trying to find a song that could work its magic. Any song she knows is too old and too familiar, and any song she doesn’t know is to foreign for her to enjoy. Being stuck in a loop of perpetual dissatisfaction is something she finds herself existing in often – it certainly does not get more pleasant each time round.
Without the dull sound if the plane surrounding her, she’s almost certain that she’d forget she actually had a destination. Sitting still in the passenger seat with nothing to do is too similar to the draining atmosphere of sitting still in a school classroom; all fluorescent bright lights and creaky floorboards. Her mind runs away from her – it’s the most mobile she can physically be right now. It sifts through her thoughts: she relives the memories before her flight; she remembers airport (and the adventure before that too) before she’s thinking – again – of what’s to come. She thinks of the connecting flight, of seeing her family again afterwards, of feeling the warm heat of her home country. She leads herself to occupying a small bit of her time with those thoughts before they too become a bore. Her restlessness returns, and she can only wish those seated around her a silent apology.