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February 26, 2008

Sometimes being on the road is seeing the familiar in a habitual way. There is the 4am rise to catch the cab to the airport, and the same breakfast at the Qantas Club. Then there is the view from plane window:

leavingAdelaide.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, leaving Adelaide, 2008

Though this kind of travel is different from traveling on public transport in a major city, there is the feeling that you've seen this view a hundred times before.

Then there is the familiar view from the same hotel window:

MarriotBrisbane.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, Brisbane from the Marriott Hotel, 2008

Then the meetings, the rush to make the evening plane through the gridlocked city traffic, a quick drink at the Qantas club, catch the last plane back home, arriving around 10pm, exhausted. All that is remembered is one notable difference: the rain on the east coast compared to a bone dry, dust ladened Adelaide.

This kind of travel for work is more than transport. It's a culture with its own conventions, fashion, food and commentary about hotels, frequent flyer points and travel deals.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:13 PM | | Comments (4)


This reminds me of a similar description of the same thing in Fight Club. From memory I think he refered to 'single serve friends', where you meet people in single servings in the same way everything else comes packaged on planes and in hotels.

You're not going to go mad and blow up your Ikea collection are you?

Yes everything does come in packages on airlines and hotels as does the experience of the travel by the traditional sky warriors flying on the class of ticket stipulated by travel policies of companies with fixed contracts with laptop in hand. So does the brief tourist experience in the different cities that is squeezed before and after work.

I don't know much about Fight Club. Are we a crowd of spectators"? Not really. Does the culture of advertising on the road define our society's "external signifiers of happiness" and causes an unnecessary chase for material/technological objects that replaces the more essential pursuit of spiritual happiness? Probably. Is there a huge concern with failure and success in this business/political culture? For sure.

Are we really trapped in a false packaged world? I often feel that way in the overcrowded domestic Qantas Club lounges that often resemble a happy hour at the pub.

I'm not sure that you need to turn to the fighting to strip away the "fear of pain" and "the reliance on material signifiers of their self-worth" of this packaged world to really experience something valuable.Do you need to adopt a Nietzschean model that expresses the nihilistic attitude of rejecting and destroying institutions and value systems to feel alive?

If it hadn't turned to fighting there would have been less opportunity for Brad Pitt to take off his shirt. They could just as easily have turned to writing poetry or making balloon animals. The section between, with all of the self help groups and the need to cry was, for me, a successful transition between the alienation of the single serve life and feeling alive.

I'm no movie critic. Like Les on art, I know what I like. Fight Club's a favourite, though I still cover my eyes in bits.