Culture | Flying | Travel

Flight Path

The roar starts around 5:30 and continues on for as long as the wind direction dictates.  There’s no mistaking when you’re staying in the flight path of a major airport, as the roar continues every couple of minutes until the rush of morning flights slows.  This is the world we live in; connected to all corners by dotted rhumb lines 30,000 feet in the air.  That connectedness is most apparent when your hotel is directly under the flight path of planes taking off.

My room preferences follow me around the world.  Whenever I stay in a Hilton or Marriott property, there’s a note in the system reminding the person checking me in to stick this guy in a room at the end of the hall, away from the ice machine and elevators.  In most ways I’m not particularly fussy, but when it comes to sleep I’m not a fan of the late night hallway conversations and beer cooler fill-ups.  You do you, I’ll do me, we’ll both find a way to coexist.  As long as I don’t have to listen to you at 2 AM anyway.

So with this kind of preference for quiet, why would I book a hotel in the flight path of a major airport?  Convenience, that’s why.  I’m an early riser and don’t care about the roar at 5:30 AM the way I’d care about it at midnight.  If I’m working on a laptop I probably have noise cancelling headphones on anyway, listening to music that they don’t perform on the Grammy’s anymore.  Funny how old you feel when the music industry passes you by…  but then again I’ve never been at the epicenter of pop music anyway.

Today I pack up my bags and leave the flight path for the highway – Another source of the background roar of life on this planet.  Stand near a major highway and listen to the constant roar of cars and trucks flying by.  It’s not the same volume of roar as jets taking off but it’s more relentless.  I take full advantage of the infrastructure of rapid travel and convenience, but I don’t embrace it.  Like the hotel room, I prefer the quiet corners of the world, away from the very noise that I’m adding to in my business travel.  The irony isn’t lost on me, but as long as I’m participating in the world economy I need to dance with the roar.  Until I can cancel it out again anyway.

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