I am posting from a text memo I banged out with the thumb keyboard on my Treo during my flight from New York to Minneapolis St. Paul.
This is a first. There are 12 passengers on my flight on an American Airlines MD80, a full-size commercial airliner. Not only is there no one in my row, there is no one in the ten rows in front of me and no one behind me at all. There's a couple sitting across the aisle chatting about 15 rows in front of me, everyone else moved up to first class. I didn't because I am actually more comfortable in an open row back here and I am feeling misanthropic this AM.
I was served the first-class breakfast anyway, an egg and cheese quesodilla with fruit salad. They brought back the warm hand towels to me--I was offered all of the first class service perks except for the free booze.
I was offered an upgrade to first class when I checked in for $90. I pondered that for a moment. I'm glad I declined. Even I can't drink $90 worth of chardonnay in 3 hours. The nicest thing about being on this flight with only 11 other passengers is the peace and quiet. This must be what it is like to fly in a private jet. There's no one around me talking. No kids screaming. Nothing, just me, my thoughts and the quiet serenity of the passing scene out the window. My only ambition of wealth in life is to be able to afford a fractional lease on a G4. I am having a taste of that life on this flight.
I am going to Minneapolis-St Paul to attend a two-day "sesshin" at the Zen Center led by the person whom I regard as my teacher. A sesshin is a sort of Zen practice intensive, silent, lots of sitting in meditation, ritualistic meals, private interviews with the teachers, etc. I've been doing one about once a year since I took up the practice. This is the 2007 version.
If you're interested, here's the schedule.
They talk funny here, but it's completely charming.