Leave Melbourne in a Rearview Mirror
I slept the sleep of condemned men awaiting execution the night before. There is a sharp pain that occurs every time I turn my head. It feels like evil chiropractors snuck into the room at night and gave me a crick in the neck, forcing me to observe the world at an unusual angle. This is not the way I want to start my journey- on two hours' sleep and with possible spinal injury. I'm grumpy and I must snap out of it.
On the way to Melbourne airport I try to think of a good beginning for our saga but I can't think of anything worthwhile. During the check-in at the airport I think about somehow tying in the story of Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the real life guy who had been stuck at the Charles De Gaulle airport in France who inspired the abnormally crappy Tom Hanks flick The Terminal. I try to question the notion of 'destination' and how we are all a little bit like Nasseri the Terminal Man, stuck in a strange limbo where there is no end, trapped and yet free at the same time. I think these things but the words don't come.
I'm on the flight now, the QF 179 to Narita, after a minimum amount of fuss. I try a different approach. I think about the person who starts the journey and the person who arrives on the other side. They are essentially the same person but much has changed. This makes me think of the Transporter in Star Trek. In Star Trek teleportation is made possible by a computer scanning a persons body completely and then replicating the data on an alien planet. So far so good. Unless you're wearing a red jumpsuit or something horrific happens to you mid-teleport and mixes your DNA with that of an insect, making you a fly/human hybrid, all is peachy. Not so, according to a discussion I was having with first year philosophy students at uni months before I was turfed out of the tertiary education for malicious ignorance. See, the problem is that the original copy of you left on the Enterprise is destroyed in the process of teleportation. The question then becomes; Who arrives on the other side? Is it you, or a clone of you? What happens to the soul? I talk about it to Chris, who is sitting next to me on the plane adjusting his headset. 'Don't forget to mention Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principal.' he says casually.
About my travelling companions:
Now seems to be a good a time as any to paint a picture of my travelling companions. The guys I'm going to spend the next two months with. Chris, I believe, is the reincarnation of a wise old guru. Before wikipedia, when people wanted hard questions answered, they'd have to travel across dangerous terrain and climb up mountains where guys like Chris would be sitting in a deck chair and enjoying the high altitudes. They'd then ask their questions and the Chris-like gurus would ponder for a moment, scratch their beards and answer the question posed in about a minute flat. The guy would then bow politely, leave his meagre offerings of cola, snail meat and gold bars and head back to civilisation, and possibly bury the bodies of his companions who perished along the way. Nick, on the other hand is a bit more like me. He's a hospitality guy who spends too many nights drinking and too many mornings regretting the previous nights activities. Physically he's a bespectacled gent with a face like a painted egg. They are also both allergic to fish.
Which would make me the dumb, lovable one,