“Power is the great aphrodisiac.” Henry Kissinger
The first time I ever flew on an airplane my grandfather let me sit in the window seat. I remember looking at the world in a totally different way as we flew way above the ground. And every flight after that I always sat in the window seat. No matter how much turbulence there was or whatever excitement there may have been in the cabin, I always sat, fixated on what was going on out the window…in my queendom. Whether it was trying to figure out my bearings over the land, contemplating scenarios in the clouds, or imagining what was going on in the homes of the cluster of lights far off in the distance…having the window seat could free your mind and your imagination to a world of possibilities. And then I had kids.
Kids like window seats, and the other kids like aisle seats, and we mothers and fathers often find ourselves in the middle seats…the seats where the tray tables end up with all the cups, and peanut wrappers, and everything else that was brought on the plane with you, and the window seat is no longer available. But still when the opportunity is arises, I will lean forward, and squeeze in close to my little one so I can still take a quick glimpse out the window to check on my queendom below.
During the most recent holiday, my kids and I took a quick trip to Seattle. Our travel plans changed at the last minute and we were assigned two middle seats and one aisle seat. Once again I ended up in the middle seat, seated between two strangers. My fellow passengers seemed nice enough, and we settled into our seats and all was well…until my window passenger closed her blind. How can you do that…why do you get a window seat only to close the blind. And then it hit me. My fellow passenger, although I am sure a very nice person, had cut off my view to my queendom…and she could. She was awarded the prize of the window seat, and with that seat, for the next three and a half hours, she controlled whether or not I could see out that window…she had a power that I did not possess and I was at her mercy. Now there are those folks who recline themselves into your lap or kick the back of your chair…but these folks, well you can kick the back of their chairs or recline your seats into their laps…respectively, but there is nothing you can do when someone cuts off your access to the outside world. Your imagination is idled…everything becomes stifled and you are just another passenger on a plane.
So as we flew high above the ground that day I stared at the back of my window seat passenger as she pulled the window shade down, and realized that for that day, for that flight I had to abdicate my queendom to a stranger…a person who I had never seen before that day and will probably never see again. This stranger had, for that day, a power that I did not possess. But I will be back, mark my words, I will be back. And once again I will look out my window and see marshmallow people in the clouds, snow on the mountain peaks, and imagine families sitting down for dinner in their far off homes, and once again I will be queen of all I see…if only in my mind.