i saw blue skies and the sun again. turns out they were up there all along, all i had to do was take a plane. the clouds are just a barrier, bisecting the world. it's difficult to think of them as a true physical barrier since you can pass through them so effortlessly, so perhaps they're more of a mental or spiritual one. on our side is the ground, the gray, the gloom, constriction, the finite. on the other is the light, the heavens, the expanse, the infinite.

looking up from the ground, the clouds appear gray, but looking down from the window of the plane, they look like white. the clouds cover shrouds the surface uniformly like water, low enough though that some of the highest mountain peaks and ridges are still visible, poking out like islands. this is what the world would look like if the oceans suddenly rose a couple thousand feet, it occurs to me.

after the magnificent orange-blue gradient from the sunset finally fades to black, i look away from the window and have a peek at my neighbors. they are texting or using tiktok. once upon a time, being in flight was a kind of meditative interstitial space where you would be completely disconnected from the world for a time. you were quite literally above it all.

now, the barriers between the domains are rapidly eroding. it started with those telephone headsets you'd sometimes find in the back of middle seats, however the boundary was restored after they were removed due to being too expensive and unpopular. afterwards came the era of screens in the backs of seats, which sometimes offered live tv broadcasts if you swiped your credit card. then after that slow and expensive inflight wifi eventually arrived, mostly peddled by this company called "gogo" and targeted towards business travellers. i mistakenly believed things were still at that stage, but just recently i noticed that the price of wifi has dropped to just $8 on most airlines, a price reasonable enough that even i might go for it without work to do or an expense account. despite this, i do not partake, and keep the old ways alive by devoting my time inflight to reading books, distracted only by a guy sitting near me loudly discussing with his neighbor burning man and how he is using the money he made from getting in on bitcoin early to retire and focus on onewheels.

i am astonished when the artsy-looking girl next to me puts down her phone, reaches into her bag, and of all things pulls out a DS lite with a gameboy advance cartridge shoved in the front. it is pokemon firered. she is trying to catch moltres, soft-resetting when she fails. every time she tosses a pokeball, she angles the DS sideways so that she can spam the A button with all her might. i know a thing or two about this, i have been down this path before. i consider letting her know that smashing A while the pokeball shakes to improve catch rate is just an urban legend and doesn't actually work, but i refrain. after only a few tries, she gives up and goes back to her phone.

i decide to go to the flight attendants at the back of the plane and see if i can convince them to give me some alcohol for free, since earlier i moved to a middle seat to accommodate a lady with young twins who failed to book seats next to each other. they are always willing to go out on a limb for you if you save them from a potential incident. sure enough, the flight attendant reaches back into the cart and hands me not one but two little bottles of hazelnut coffee vodka. i stay behind and make a little bittle of conversation, accusing distant international rival air carrier lufthansa of some vague past seating-related impropriety. they haven't flown anywhere near here in at least a decade. sensible chuckles are had all around and i feel safe to return to my seat. the volume of vodka looks somewhat intimidating after i pour it all into a cup with ice, but the flavor is strong and the alcohol content is weak. what a great flight, i think after i finish it all.