Twice I went in to the airport bookshop and got trapped. The book covers tempt my easily-distracted mind like shiny blackberries in a bush. Today ‘Mountains of the Mind’ and ‘H is for Hawk’ were the juiciest-looking ones. But I knew their shine would not last long, the books would bruise in my bag and my eyes would grow tired of them, and I would end up feeling guilty at the wasted money.
A few minutes later, I had to go deep into the cave again. It was forty minutes before take off and I wanted to buy water. I knew I would have to pass the books again. So I chose to mark my departure from the UKwith an act of considered recklessness and bought ‘Mountains of the Mind’.
Before even being opened, the book was lost under piles of free newspaper and magazines. Even these were forgotten by the time I found my seat. The plane has enough distractions of its own. First of all, you have to establish a relationship with the person next to you that is sufficiently comfortable for you to be able to ask to squeeze by to go to the bathroom, but not such a close bond that you might actually be required to have a real conversation….with nowhere to escape.
Once this is all done, it is find the film time. Emirates has a large selection. I watched four in eight hours: two very different British films Spinal Tap and Imitation Game that were captivating, both sharing themes of eccentricity and frustrated homosexuality, and then two very bland Japanese films, ‘Our Little Sister’ and ‘If cats disappeared from the world’. After finishing the fourth film, I had arrived in Dubai airport, where my eyes fixed on a familiar book cover: ‘H is for Hawk’. It was following me. Book covers are evil; they are controlling our every move.