The aisles on this massive plane weren't wide. The seats weren't any wider than any other flight I've been on before either. I wasn't exactly cramped in my seat, but I want exactly spreading out either. The man next to me in his Seersucker suit, although not a fat man, and actually very kind, could be considered "spreading out" as he took up both arm rests at various times during the flight. But I digress.
The airplane, a Boeing 777-200ER operated by Air France, was the largest plane I've ever been on. I know from domestic-sized planes, and I know from small planes — those 25-32 seat puddle jumpers connecting from Memphis (formerly) or Chicago to Paducah. It's quite a different experience to be on a plane that seats more than 300 people. A small city soaring through the air, across an ocean. In my section of Economy there were three seats then four seats then three more seats dissected by a couple of aisles. A, B, C (aisle) E, F, G, H (aisle) J, K, L. I've never had that many letters across.
The announcements were made in French then English with flight attendants representing Dutch, French, and Italian descents. If there was an American he/she was well hidden.
The people around me all spoke French. Even the small child two seats away. Are they returning home from holiday in America? Are they going on holiday to visit family in the France? Maybe they're just bilingual and choosing to practice the language for a holiday, like mine, in Paris. I'm in the minority here.
The lights dim in the cabin. It's slow like the romantic dimming of a chandelier but not nearly as sexy sitting in a plane full of people.
I want to watch a movie. Cinderella to be exact. Or maybe Insurgent. Two movies I never saw when they were playing in the movie theatre. I also want to fall asleep or order a glass of wine. As we taxi I want us to be in the air already. I want us to be halfway there by now. We're not. The wheels have yet to lift off and I still lack patience after all these years.
It's about the journey: the take off, the flight, the landing, the arrival, the breathing and existing in the French air. These are all things that are part of the journey. The journey is to be savored; enjoyed. Not rushed. I've read about the Parisians. They don't rush. They savor. They sip. They sit. They enjoy.
With wheels in the air I sat back to enjoy the flight and anticipate the fragrance of the Parisian air.
I chose Cinderella. "Have courage and be kind," Cinderella's mother said to her. Courage and a bit of friendly persuasion is what it took for me to make this journey. Now to find the patience to savor and courage to enjoy my brief respite in France before if becomes a memory.