Marc Augé wrote a very famous, very influential book, of which the only paragraph I remember is the one on being ‘sorted out’..
“He was enjoying the feeling of freedom imparted by having got rid of his luggage and at the same time, more intimately, by the cerainty that, now that he was ‘sorted out’, his identity registered, his boarding pass in his pocket, he had nothing to do but wait for the sequence of events.”
Now one of my flying rituals is to remember this after I pass by the carry on security checks. On monday I was sorted out in the morning, and stayed in all these non-places till the morning of the following day. It was brilliant. I don’t hate flying. I definitely hate being stuck with people in an airplane (so I am not a fan of close proximity with the same people), and whenever I travel I am usually too tired to even read, but I make sure I have a very thick book to fend off small talk. That is a perfect Peter Pan syndrome I have; a love of flying, a love of stories, coupled with cruelty towards fellow human beings, and avoidance of reality of time and a denial of its atrocities.
I was sorted out, after finishing marking essays, some of which wanted to see if how migration (in its current 2016 format), the ultimate condition of not being sorted out, could be made sense off by the literature the students were asked to read.
I was definitely sorted out, with wi-fi connection, informing my housemates, friends and family when my next flight was. When also some of my friends were frantically searching to see whether their loved ones would make it or not after a bomb blew off in the Cathedral in Cairo. I was even sorted out, because I chose to avoid the news, lest I find someone I knew among the casualties. Or someone I don’t know but having their life displayed and dissected on social media. Basically what death came to be on social media in these past six years.
I was also definitely sorted out, as Aleppo fell. As people started tweeting their goodbyes. As women started considering suicide to avoid rape, as Egyptians started to debate whether it is fell or liberated, whether these goodbyes are imperialists American propaganda and whether we should give Russian propaganda a chance. And whether fear, rubble, death, uncertainty are a media campaign rather than the inherent human condition of our being. As Robert Fisk tried to pretend he has nuance, after -only last week- he shamelessly wondered if “Aleppo” meant that the West should keep the world’s antiquities. As a city was crumbling on itself, one more cigarette being in stuck in humanity’s eye; I was sorted out.