Any Mouse, Ridin’ the Gypsy Wind.
The kid asked, as kids will do, the question requiring a straight face and a kind answer: What’s “any mouse?”
Well what do you mean? Give it to me in a sentence.
Like when there’s a quote, and the person who said it is listed as “any mouse.”
Any mouse, indeed. Who isn’t? How funny is that really? Don’t think about it too long, but it’s not only who you are, but where you’re going–and who’s taking you there.
And getting there is a rat race:
Big Skinner box, the cheese is at the gate, then on-board, a seat. You take it on faith: though you’re “any mouse” here–even though to the security guy looking at you naked on a screen you’re really anything but–regardless, you’ll be more than that there. And there is wherever and whomever you valued (and vice versa) enough to justify the faceless gauntlet between here and there.
And where is there? Where you’re going–where they know you, value you beyond the quantitative “you” of weight and price and carbon composition. As you.
Well kinda sorta you–more quantitatively, as that cryptic bar code that lists stuff about (destination, bags, connections, weight, number) rather than the flesh-and-blood qualitatively you most appreciated there–or you wouldn’t be going, right? You won’t be just any mouse when you get there.
That’s worth launching into the stratosphere for, you’d have to hope. You paid your pound of flesh, endured the hauling (bags weigh a ton!), the purging (that won’t go through security!), the prep. Boarding is that moment that divides the waiting from the going.
And who is it that makes the going happen? Well, any mouse, once again. Don’t know if you’re blind and I’m invisible or vice versa, but either way works just fine. You might as well be asleep as in surgery, because you won’t see me anyway, if I can help it. Flying is what I do, but you’re why I do it. We don’t really need to meet, do we? Just need to get it done.
I love being any mouse, because while what I do is because of where you want to go, it’s most importantly, a large part of who I am. Let’s be any mouse then, shall we?
Sometimes you overhear stuff going on beyond a wall and you know, yup–they’re there.
Sneak preview, yeah, we are. We have a lot of similar stuff front and back, don’t we? Not a lot of extra space either place.
Which is the reality of putting a bullet into the sky, you have to know, where weight and size are critical. Nobody has a lot of elbow room. Kind of bought the ride but not the space, you know? And you have screens in back to help you forget where we are and what we’re doing
while I have a bunch of them to keep me engaged in what you’re trying not to notice.
Silent partners, aren’t we? You divert, I engage. You ride, I fly. Together, we drag a knife across the sky and leave a puffy rumply scar that heals quickly nonetheless.
You can’t see that? Sideways ain’t always the best view. Are you even looking? No? Because you’re looking here:
Aren’t you? Good. Then I can get on with what I do. Getting there is my reason for being here–but being “there” means little to me. I’m not staying anyway and if you asked me later where I was, I probably could even tell you. It doesn’t matter to me.
Rather, I’m all about the fire.
A thousand degrees, fifty thousand pounds of thrust, let’s roll. Every minute, every vertical foot, every thousand miles one at a time, I’m on it–so you don’t have to be. Climb, climb, cruise, climb; lather, rinse, repeat. Route, reroute; guess-timate–call on your years of appraising the sky and what it might hold–outsmart it; the sky doesn’t care. But I do.
All the while, I’ve got eyeballs out watching the sunset giving the horizon a fat lip.
Rumpled sky having trouble getting settled into night. A thousand miles later, off the nose, the moon just punched the night sky in the face, rising bloody red at first but then that alabaster gleamy mottled ball that won’t shut up. No excuses for bad landings tonight.
I keep an eye above, thinking of the far-off jewels flung across the sky; cirrus like a gauzy scarf dressing up old pals like Cassipoea and Orion. But I still find ’em, think about jewels, priceless, and as far away as that. That’s something to savor and not forget.
Keep your window shades drawn because it’s about time for the feature film–it actually varies with the compass direction of the flight (did you know that?) in the Main Cabin. Miles, courses, frequencies, fuel burn, oxygen, generators–I’ve got it figured down to a rat’s ass:
I’ll take care of time and tide for you–fuel’s a’burning, I’m keeping count, ticking off the miles, sweeping 600 miles of sky ahead looking for trouble to avoid.
I’ll let you down easy, slow you down, deal with the thousands of foot-pounds of kinetic energy we owe now because we opened the double-cans of whupass on the runway hours back:
Ah, love those two, the way they bite the air and rocket us forward and up. But no worries downline, fellow mouse, I’ll land you there, wherever that is for you, and you can get off.
Me? Always another “there” to fly to, an excuse to light the fires and climb as far above this world as possible. There? Not so much, but you go ahead.
Getting there, flying–that’s my thing. Looking for me? Keep an eye out for any mouse, riding that gypsy wind. That’s not just what I do, it’s who I am.