Karen nervously adjusted her seat belt and blinked at the screen on the seat in front of her, twiddling the confusing menu to find the movie.
Unused to flying (Ruffield University had a series of complex grants mostly named after people's elderly aunts which you had to apply for, and Karen had never managed this) Karen realised she had too much stuff around her.
Her CD Walkman and CD's of Laura Cantrall and Lou Rhodes plus ofcourse Bob Dylan, several novels and her trusty copy of The Long Revolution , which she always took on long journeys as a safety blanket all sat on her lap.
Karen managed to sit back, open her book and look out at the seemingly endless ice fields behind her, (pictured here) and wonder whatever happened to global warming when all she saw was ice, when she was aware of a small scuffling beside her...
A blond woman with cropped hair was staring at her book with awe and delight.
'Hey' she said. 'You read Williams in the original!'.
Karen blinked. Who was this person?
'Crystal, University of Western Australia, Williams is SOOO contemporary!'
Karen stared at her, astonished.'Where are you going?' she asked rather pointlessly.
'I am going to the WIRED conference in Santa Arabella then the Digital realities conference in Singapore, then the Beyond post modernism in the context of post colonialism symposium in Cape Town... what about you?'
asked Crystal with enthusasim.
She beamed at Karen through complicated spectacles.
Karen couldn't think what to say.
'What's your subject?' she ventured.
Crystal's eyes gleamed. 'You really wanna know?'
Six hours later, it seemed to Karen that Crystal's subject was hyper-modernity, with airports as her speciality.
She did ethnographies of departure lounges.
Crystal's life seemed to be continual global flow, trailing Appadurai and Bauman behind her in a fluid, liquid whirl.
Crystal barely noticed her home town Perth, but circled the world on the conference tour, clutching her lap top and her trusty memory stick (wrapped in bubble wrap) which held everything Crystal knew within it.
Crystal even had memory sticks as dangly earrings for back-up.
They flashed now, in the sun reflecting off the ice flow.
It was only when Crystal moved on to Beck's risk society that Karen started to feel a bit nervous, and made a bee line for the overhead locker muttering about her need for Marxism and Literature and she could escape to the toilets.
TO BE CONTINUED...