Sunday, August 28, 2005

The ultimate flight

Have you ever thought about how airplane lavatories would be the perfect place to kill yourself? Think about it. You pick a trans-atlantic flight (out of New York, for instance). You slip half a razor blade into the waistband of your jeans (just under your belt buckle - they're hardly likely to catch something that small at security). You wait patiently for the seatbelt sign to switch off, make sure you're properly over the ocean, then you slide quickly into the lavatory, shift the sign on the door to occupied and slit your wrists. Okay, so people will line up outside. They'll probably curse you for taking so long, they'll complain bitterly about people who hog public rest rooms. Then after about twenty minutes (maybe half an hour) someone will bring the whole matter to the staff's attention. They'll come knock politely - wait for an answer. This will go on for five minutes. Then there'll be another ten-fifteen minutes while they consult with each other and decide to do something about it (they won't want to create a commotion after all, not with everyone as jittery about terrorist scares as they are nowadays). They'll go on trying to knock, they'll try and figure out how long you've been in there, they'll be afraid that you've just fallen asleep and it'll all end in embarassment. Finally they'll decide to try and force the door open. This will take another five minutes (more if your body happens to be jammed against the door).

And even after they get you out (how long does it take to bleed to death anyway - surely it'll all be over in an hour), what are they going to do about it? Maybe there'll be a doctor on board, maybe there won't. At any rate, he / she is unlikely to be carrying any equipment with them. Certainly there'll be no blood, no glucose to give you. And you're halfway across the Atlantic by now. By the time they get back to land and get you to a hospital it's almost certain to be too late.

Why not just kill yourself at home, you ask? Well, for starters, there's the novelty value of it (hasn't anyone ever thought of this before, I wonder?). There's something exciting about killing yourself at 30,000 feet above sea level, as if the thinness of the air outside had something to do with the thinness of your life. You could start a whole new mile high club.

Plus there's the finality of the whole thing - it's a good way of making sure that you die, and that's really important. Even if you wanted to back out, get help, you couldn't really do it. And it's a convenient event to fix killing yourself on - if you're just sitting at home you could always put it off till the next day or the day after that, but if you're up on the plane flying to an unknown city with no reservations and nothing to do there, then there's a momentum driving you to end it all right there. Oh, and also, there's the sense of a journey, if only a pointless and aborted one, that is so poetically apt for the whole endeavour. I have this vision of my soul like a suitcase, going round and round on a carousel somewhere, unaware that there is no master left to claim it.

P.S. I'm back!! Had amazing vacation. More on that in the coming week.

8 comments:

Jabberwock said...

Hey, this was very useful, thanks. That MUST have been one amazing vacation!

Falstaff said...

Jabberwock: You're welcome. Now if only I can come up with a way of claiming royalties AFTER someone has used the idea. Maybe I could sell the whole thing to Thomas Cook - they could have a special suicides only rate. They could call it the Avoid Airplane Food plan.

ozymandiaz said...

Brings a whole new meaning to the term "mile high club". Do all of your vacations lend to thoughts of suicide or is this just a special occasion? Or is it returning to the mundane that inspires the self snuff?
Anyhow, welcome back.

Megha said...

Your last-minute travelling blues don't seem like such a bad thing anymore :) Am guessing the idea came to you while in the airplane loo?

Falstaff said...

Oz: It's good to be back. And yes, it's the return to the mundane - like that hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach when you just get off the roller-coaster (not that I ever ride on roller-coasters, of course, they make me ill)

Megha: No, actually, it came to me while waiting outside the loo - you know how you just stand there feeling in the way and foolish and you're thinking what could possibly be taking this person so long / inconsiderate people like that shouldn't be allowed to live, and suddenly you put the two thoughts together and there you are.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting site...
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Anonymous said...

This is endorsing and encouraging suicide. it's morbid as hell.

ins0mniac said...

I can see the thought crossed ur mind on more than one occasion. I like it. Particularly the idea of the luggage doing rounds claim area. I guess the downside is those overzealous moustache-men take off ur luggage at the IGI airport straight away. That's a huge turn off. Takes the romance out of the whole thing! Still I like it. Will remember to use it the next time.