By Audrey Lambert, TIWP College Student
Airplanes are weird, especially when the flight is so short you can’t adapt to living in that liminal space. Normally I use that sort of unsettling time chunk to do homework or read or write, but this time I had just come off of writing a ten-page midterm essay about Yeats and I had no more academic thoughts left to give, so instead I did something I normally save for the margins of notebook paper or the back of my hand. I just sat there and doodled. I made a big swirly maze across an entire page, I shittily copied the pattern on the wing of the plane through the window, I drew fancy-looking numbers and pyramids, and wrote my friend’s newborn baby’s name in cursive. I let my brain go quiet for the first time in months and flipped between doodling and looking out the oblong window at snow-covered mountains and the sun-contoured tops of low rain clouds and then across the plane isle at the teenage girl who never had been in a plane before and snapped back and forth from sheer terror and absolute awe like a pendulum. I let myself go dormant. I let my hand run across the paper and my eyes wander. My mind slowed to the flow of honey and molasses rather than white water rapids. I just took the hour and a half it takes to fly from Portland to Oakland and let myself not care. Just not think about what’s next and what’s after that and all the ways they could all go terribly wrong. I wish it were more normalized to just sit there and do nothing. Not even to think about something important. Like to pretend I’m jumping across the tops of clouds, to pretend I’m a little bug and that, to me, that grass would be a jungle, to pretend I’m living in the poster on my brother’s wall and to figure out how I’d navigate through it. Useless little thoughts like that, when all other thoughts make me sad or mad or anxious. To turn off all the noise and think about something small and quiet.