Home Again, Home Again

Icy North Atlantic

Today was homecoming day for us, via a 10-hour Delta direct flight from Amsterdam to Sea-Tac (Seattle-Tacoma) International Airport. We were on an Airbus 330, which has entertainment screens for each passenger (on the back of the seat in front of you). This entertainment system provides music, games, and movies.

On the flight out I had planned to do a lot of reading and had packed my briefcase with everything I thought I’d need. As a result, my briefcase was too heavy for me to carry any distance, and my husband F. valiantly volunteered to tote it around for me. For the flight home I had learned my lesson and had packed little more than my laptop and my iPad in the case. I still hoped to do some reading, but this time I knew that I’d be able to plug my iPad into a USB port in front of me when it began to run low.

However, both F. and I decided to check out the entertainment system, which we had resisted on the flight out. Among the movies F. discovered The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington. I usually go to see any movie that Denzel appears in. I had wanted to see this one when it was out in theaters, despite the violence, but never got there. So we both tucked into this one.

After The Equalizer, we discovered the whole Taken series, starring Liam Neeson, available. We had seen the original Taken, but not 2 and 3, so we both went through those. It’s definitely time for this series to end, as Liam has noticeably slowed down in the action sequences. Next we watched The Drop, written by one of my favorite mystery writers, Dennis Lehane. This was the best of all the movies, as it had at least a bit of character depth and an intriguing twist at the end.

One other nifty feature of the Airbus 330’s video system is the section labeled “this flight,” which shows you a world map with the plane’s projected flight path and current location. Somewhere over the cold North Atlantic I took a break from my movies long enough to raise my window shade and snap this photo:

Icy North Atlantic

The only thing worse than a long plane flight is a long plane flight with whining, crying children. One row ahead of us in the middle four-seat section of plane was a group of four children who looked about 12, 10, 8, and 6. There was no sound at all from them for the entire flight as they, like us, sat enthralled by their personal entertainment systems. It must have been kid nirvana: endless movies, music, and games interrupted only by the occasional delivery of meals, snacks, and beverages.

I didn’t get any sleep on the flight, but I didn’t expect to. Despite the entertainment, it’s been a long day for us. We had to get up at 4:30 AM to have our suitcases out by 5:15, and our bus left the boat for the airport at 6:15. We got home by late afternoon and are now just about ready to hit the hay for several hours.

Unlimited mindless entertainment stunts human growth, but sometimes a limited dose of it is exactly what the circumstances require. Just ask those four kids if you don’t want to take my word for it.

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