On the flight back from the Twin Cities last week, I pushed the electronics shut-down edict to the limit, finishing up a call on my iPhone (4, but who’s counting?) and whipping off a text to my daughter as the plane pushed back from the gate. I knew it was time to comply when I heard a flight attendant hissing at a guy a few rows up, “What part of ‘turn that off’ don’t you understand?” (Apparently last year’s incident on Jet Blue has given attendants everywhere brand new balls.)
Stowing the iPhone, I pulled out my portable task light, without which I could not read the Thursday Style section. The bossy flight attendant eyed the device suspiciously but, either mystified by the light’s power system or intimidated by my fierce demeanor, he let it slide.
When we got to the proper altitude, I stashed the light and snapped open my laptop, to scan the in-flight internet for a dinner recipe. I was obsessing over Gwyneth Paltrow’s instructive video on taco construction when my battery expired. I moved on to the iPad to watch an episode of “The Office” and read a little of “Just Kids.” Am I au courant or what?
When the sound of someone repeatedly shuffling cards started to drive me insane, I went back to the iPhone to listen to the audio of “Unbroken” until the order came to shut down electronics again. Re-exposed to the card shuffling and other irritants, I fantasized about how I’d rule the plane: “We are next in line for take off. Please do not play cards, unwrap smelly food, blow your nose frequently, engage in unnecessary newspaper rattling, or speak until we have landed safely in Los Angeles.”
Denied access to my gizmos, I was forced to resort to pen and paper to make a grocery list, figuring that, on my way home, I’d swing by the market to get the fixings for Tacos a la Gwyneth. The challenge here is that, due to desuetude, my handwriting has deteriorated to the point of illegibility. So, back on land and powered up again, I dictated the list to my Dragon Dictation app, I texted it to myself, and, Nano earbuds in place–NPR takes the sting out of grocery shopping, doncha think?–I went to buy beans.
P.S. The Twin Cities, while not identical twins, do share a certain feature. According to my computer, it is currently 16º F in both cities.