Man Jet or Eros In Transit: Fragments from a Tour Diary
I packed as many curved shapes as I could for my voyage — cds, a bag full of Krispy Kreme donuts, my Mets baseball cap, some Slippery Elm eucalyptus lozenges, foam earplugs, and also put my clothes into a suitcase with wheels. Where I was going was frighteningly linear, and I had reason to believe circles, ovals, pillars and tori and the like would be terribly necessary in the days ahead. The popular notion is that touring is a fantastic opportunity for sensuality, a cornucopia of fleshly distractions. In fact it is a chilly, rectangular space. Airplanes are the future. To love you will have to love a jet. I hoped my rounded objects would help make me ready to do so.
My driver made the first mistake on the way to the airpot, trying to outsmart a jam on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway by taking side streets. We exited at McGuinness Boulevard to find the chaos of other thwarted rebels trying to reboot into the mainstream of traffic. First lesson: in the future you stay on the highway. The old way out is now the new way in.
I boarded the jet. Dogman called on the cellular while I was still on the tarmac, pretending he could see me against the night sky. Dogman likes to conflate various levels of experience for amusing effects. He regarded my travel as a good sign, a sign that I was due to have some fun. “Your dick is bigger than ever,” he said. “Don’t forget that.” I indulged his flattery, but what I know that he doesn’t is that the big dick in two dimensions is microscopically thin when viewed from the front. He’s seen a billboard for the future, one which blocks his view of the future itself. The sentiment is appreciated, but it’s another example of Twentieth-Century thinking. In the future my dick, like anyone’s, will have to work the margins, and in that pursuit size is no help at all.
Airplane food was, as I feared, all squared. I cut off the corners and slipped them into the airsick bag.
At the first stop an old friend from my former life took me aside. I could tell he was curious about my assignment, but there was very little I could safely say. He clapped me on the back and spoke in a whisper. “All I have to say, man, is hope this all translates into pussy.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him he’d misunderstood the problem. Not only doesn’t it translate into pussy, it doesn’t translate at all. This movement through the sky, movement through time, it isn’t a language of any kind. To find love here involves letting go of language.
Stewardesses were sexy, Flight Attendants are not. But to go where I am going I’ll need to learn to find them sexy. (JL: I love this paragraph–I love the whole idea. I do wonder, however: it’s not the flight attendants he has to find sexy, it’s the plane/jet-maybe the idea is that he’ll have to learn to pick up on the sexual vibes they’re emitting into the airplane space…or maybe I’m taking it all too literally. It just seems strange to focus on their sexuality as people when that’s not where the heart of the piece I’ve developed a theory. The sexuality of Flight Attendants broadcasts on a channel back in time — men in the 1950’s are, I think, still being aroused by the energies coming off the bodies of the Flight Attendants today, which accumulates in the bodies of Stewardesses in the past. The Stewardesses in the 1950’s are therefore growing more sexy with each passing year.
On the plane again the next day, I readied myself by listening to Islamic music on the Discman, changing my clothes under the thin blue astronaut’s blanket, performing a series of limbering exercises in my seat without disturbing the travellers to my right and left. I was briefly amused to imagine that this might be the same set of preparations engaged in by a terrorist, once long ago.
I called Dogman on the Airfone. He is beginning to understand that my landings and takeoffs are beside the point, and mean no more than does my time on the ground. What happens in the air is the point.
Today I made the leap, and transformed myself into Fifties Man. It is he who will be able to find love on the jet. I did it by the simplest possible operation, entering a portal left behind — accidentally? Who knows? It began when I noticed in the lavatory a thin slot in the wall marked for “used razor blades”. Really, what an astoundingly obvious clue. In the airport later that day I was able, miraculously to purchase a stainless-steel shaver with flat, double-edged disposable blades. Then on the flight today I excused myself, and shaved in the bathroom. It was Fifties Man who emerged.
It was then that I began to notice the airplane’s curves.
When you love a jet you love it all the way. The passengers are beside the point. And the crew, helpless to stop you. The black box won’t tell your tale. You love it from your seat, without the aid of the oxygen mask, often without moving your seat out of the upright position dictated by the FAA for landing and takeoff. Oh, you might slip off your seatbelt to make room for your erection. You might go that far. But loving a jet leaves no mark on the turbines, no fingerprints on the wing or tail struts. We go into this future in a passive ecstacy, knowing our place. Knowing our size against the sky. I think in the next world all three hundred and sixty passengers could love a jet at one time and not cause a shred of turbulence. But I’ll wager I was the only one today.
In the hotel that night I found my reward, the home version of the vast love I’d found in the air. It was the airplane’s mortal namesake, set flush into the smooth plastic wall of a Jacuzzi. I fitted my penis into the stream, cupping my left hand around it from underneath to guide the rush of bubbles. The jetstream coursed, boiling me in bubbles. The water rushed me forward, hurrying me out of the past and into the future. I came obediently into the foam.
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