This is WINDOW SEAT. Now, before this slightly misleadingly-named blog proceeds, I have a confession. After years and years of ALWAYS taking the window seat in whatever conveyance, I’ve now had a relatively short period of asking for the aisle. I used the excuse that I was getting older and wanted to access the bathroom more freely, stretch my legs to prevent deep vein thrombosis and most of the time it was either black night or a sunny blue-domed cloud-carpeted world outside the window anyway. Okay, I repent. I’m back to my window seat. It is actually worth the climb over a bulky sleeping seatmate to catch that first glimpse of the hills or valleys or streetscape of my next NEW place. Here’s an itinerary that will be admired by some, but envied by few if the truth be told. Most people actually do not want to travel. Took me a long time to believe that about apparently rational people. Some of my best friends in fact. But travel as opposed to vacationing isn’t for everyone. And I must admit to being rather a softy as travel goes…no Amazonian rapids or Himalayan peaks…just the next cup of coffee at a very distant counter. But that’s okay. My itinerary feels a little daunting to me too. Roughly it’s this. 7AM to DC, 5:40PM to Johannesburg, an 18 hour flight, gas up in Bamako or Dakar. Late that evening into Johannesburg. (All courtesy of frequent flyer miles—keep your mileage, every single mile and then if you actually wanted to go somewhere you could!) Couple hours flight to Cape Town and I’m home for a week. Although at this moment in time I don’t have a hotel. Cape Town has HISTORY. The Afrikaner stronghold. The white town. The most beautiful city in the world. The racist heart of South Africa. Seems to be all of that. I hope to walk many streets and climb Table Mountain and find Deon Meyer, one of my favorite police/detective novelists and to think about what this city means in relation to Birmingham or New Orleans or Mobile or any one of the American cities where our own racial history is writ large. But in my everyday life for the week I’m focusing on dance and theater. What are artists in a city that is geographically at almost the bottom of the world—9351 miles from Albuquerque—thinking about right now? How to find that out in one week? BUT here is what endlessly fascinates me. How we each think we live at the center of the world. And then we fly for 24 hours or so and it’s somebody else’s center of the world. So then I’ll have a cup of coffee and sleep and get up and walk around this center of the world.