A few weeks ago I was on a flight from ATL to GSP right about the time the sun was going down. On takeoff, I had lowered my window shade - a habit I've had for as long as I've been a frequent flyer. Soon after reaching our cruising altitude, I closed my eyes and began to drift off to the sound of Radiohead playing through my headphones.
Not long thereafter, turbulence shook me out of my sleep. I awoke to the Radiohead song "Where I End and You Begin" from their 2003 album "Hail to the Thief." From the window in the row in front of me, I saw a sliver of golden light leaking into the cabin. I slowly raised my own shade to see this scene out my window. In my ears, I heard the lyrics:
No one can know for certain what Thom Yourke was thinking when he wrote these lyrics, but I can keep my own interpretation. As the song played on, I remembered that each song from the record was characteristically subtitled. For this track, the subtitle was: "The Sky is Falling In."
The atmospheric scene outside the plane turned to darkness just as the song was ending. The sun had set. The landing lights had begun flashing. Over the intercom, a request to turn off all personal electronic devices was issued. I felt the deceleration of the aircraft, followed by the clunk of the landing gear. Nose down. Slowing, slowing, slowing. Touchdown.