Looking out the window

It amazes me when I fly on an airliner, and people slam down those little screens and never look out the windows. There could be a full moon rising between two cloud layers, mountains and deserts, towering cumulus tops glowing in the orange sunset, but somehow the contents of the in-flight magazine or the B-movie re-run is more interesting.

We are the first generation of humans who routinely experience life in the stratosphere. For thousands of years, people gazed longingly into the sky, envying the birds, dreaming of flight. That we would so quickly take it for granted, grow bored with it even, they would never have believed.

My theory is that if the airlines would hand out a map showing your route across the landscape, passengers would take more of an interest. They could put into context what they are seeing out there, give names to the mountains and rivers, make sense of it all. It would get them past that hump where they look outside, feel a bit bewildered and confused, and go back to sleep.