Flying east, as the sun turns to set, the plane hastens the arrival of night and is soon surrounded by darkness. A bright light flashes every few seconds on the wing, repeatedly, momentarily painting it red.
Spotlights come on throughout the cabin, illuminating random faces, each with a different expression, no two faces or thoughts the same.
A couple discuss their holiday as they try to settle their infant child. Many are lost in a world of their own, watching a movie, reading a book, trying to sleep.
The air crew hand out drinks and a meal and are kept constantly occupied, driven to distraction by their captive audience. Customer service of the most intense kind, neither consumer nor provider with room, should they need it, to run and hide.
Half way to landing, two university friends chuckle and guffaw as they reminisce on their fortnight of fun and frolics.
"At least we avoided hospital this time!"
"You remember that? It was hysterical! The girl in the ambulance couldn't keep a straight face!"
I try to listen in a little bit closer, hoping to hear what had led my unknown colleague to lose her composure, but they told no more of the mystery event, turning after hysterical laughter to more mundane conversation.
"You back at uni tomorrow then?"
"'Fraid so. Straight back down to earth with a bump."
Not exactly the words I wanted to hear at thirty thousand feet.
Serves me right for eavesdropping.