I hang on to a blue handle hanging from a blue bar by a blue strap on a blue bus. Maybe they got the colours right. Maybe they didn’t. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t mind the colour. It compliments the morning sky well. I shouldn’t even be worrying about this. The commute from the gate to the aircraft isn’t that long. But the baby and the woman I gave my seat to were also in blue. Thus all this contemplation. From when I can remember, I’ve always seen a baby on an airport shuttle. The repeated introduction to ‘blue’ and ‘baby’ forced me to stop and reconsider. Is any of this important?
“You think too much” is what she said. That’s what everyone says. I reach into the right pocket of my dark blue jeans, trying to find the packet of fennel seeds. My left hand tightens its grip on the blue handle. The bus suddenly stops and I almost lose my grip. I glance at the driver without knowing it, re-adjust the heavy guitar on my back, and resume hanging on to the handle. Forget the fennel. I’ll have it later.
These buses look just like everything else the airline owns. You are met again and again with the same colours, the same uniforms, and the same smile. It deceives you into thinking all these services are not many but one efficient and flawless whole. But it isn’t. Oh, you thought it was about the aesthetics huh? I did too. Until today, when my contact with the colour blue and babies on airport shuttles for the hundredth time made me aware of my surroundings. That’s what got me thinking in the first place.
“You think too much”. Pah! I almost say it out loud. The woman looks at me. She’s sizing me up. But she’s also sizing up everyone else on the shuttle. That’s her fennel. That’s her way of taking a break on a holiday. She’s sitting down while she’s asleep. All of these people are. I can feel it. Because there’s nothing else to do other than to hang on to the blue handles on this blue bus. If only I could chew on some fennel.
We get down by the plane. I see what I’ve seen before even when it’s different. So I decide not to look at all; at the tires of the plane or the marks that heavy tools made under the wing. I just ‘proceed’ like they ask you to in those announcements. The word reeks of organised movement, lacking any curiosity whatsoever.
Once on the plane, I settle down by the window on row 27 or 28. That’s where the seats are mostly empty. I immediately produce a packet of fennel seeds from my pocket and pop a few seeds into my mouth, aiming for my tongue. I close my eyes for a moment.
I open and close the blinds again and again until we take off. Repetition is key. I like to think some staff on the ground sees the plane blinking when they look up. Or winking perhaps, considering how not many would oblige the way I do.
Once in the air, I treat myself to more fennel. There’s something about feasting on these tiny grains of exotic flavour while looking out the window on row 27 or 28, guiding them around in my mouth into the delicate blades of my incisors. It’s a calming process, one that compliments the view which casts the illusion that I’m moving at the pace of an electric scooter when in reality I’m a lot closer to the speed of light than I think.
Why do I talk of light? Because they say time stops at the speed of light. That’s when you’ll feel the slowest. The fennel makes me appreciate everything that’s slow. It perhaps works very much like tea or coffee does for some people. It makes me more of a photon. That’s when I feel the slowest.
This is part of a series called ‘Mumbo is Jumbo’. In this series, I will talk about seemingly irrelevant things in my life that I think I’ve not been able to communicate efficiently with other people. I believe this will be a very special project. I request your support and I hope you enjoy it.