“Please turn off all portable electronic devices.”
Okay, so I’ve read reports about the mostly cautionary purpose for this request, protecting against hypothetical interference with airplane-to-tower communication among other things (see CNET: Cell phones to take flight). Studies have shown that the tiny amount of power drawn by little iPods and DVD players is no threat to the massive equipment those planes pack.
Still, though, where I might have once rebelled and used my iPod anyway, I’ve changed my mind. I now agree wholeheartedly with the stewardess. Sitting in the back of Sun Country flight 395, I watched the passengers, previously distracted and occupied with music and games and news and movies from every direction, stop. The father points out the window at tiny rows of house lights, a new sight for the 6-year old peering out beside him. The mother sits and reads a novel with real words on real pages with a real story. Two strangers talk about Thanksgiving plans and family and kids and life, growing closer for an instant than many do living side-by-side amongst the business of connected, high-paced society, before flowing back apart to different destinations.
No ears are plugged; no eyes glued to the screen.
Every of us within this flying shell is hit with the majesty of existing actively in the world for a moment, and we’re always slightly surprised that it’s not as boring as we expected.
“Hey! We’re going to land!” pipes up the kid across the aisle.
And then we’re back on the ground – back in the real world.
“You may now turn on all portable electronic devices…..”