Okay, okay.. maybe I am being a bit dramatic, but hear me out. Flying these days is not the same. I remember thinking it the other day, saying it, and then I realized that I had cursed myself. I could not fly out of Indianapolis.
In the end, a complaint was filed against a rogue airline employee who took me off a flight for a reason beyond my understanding or the airlines. I had checked in, my ticket said 1A, but I was booted. A reality I was unaware of until the following morning when my attempted ticket reprint failed. I was on another flight, or rather, two flights said a surprisingly unpleasant airline rep who had rudely interrupted a conversation I had been having with her coworker.
Farewell direct flight and hello unforgiving, airplane bathroom stench post full speed run in heels pre-6 a.m.
I should also tell you the airline delayed then cancelled my original flight the night before minutes before we were supposed to board. As I walked back out of the terminal, there it was, a long line full of unhappy people who were told to call the airline to avoid the ugly in person encounters that were coming anyways. I furrowed my brow and internally tapped my foot realizing that every moment I waited in line meant someone else was getting a seat I so desired.
Then, the man standing in front of me gave me a big smile and asked me out on a date. I had been so focused on being the next in line as I intently watched my only line of communication dying before my eyes after a worthless call to an agent in a far away land, that I had to read his lips as he nervously pitched his feelings. The whole thing felt a bit blurry. He got some serious points for being a man unafraid to put himself out there. It’s a rarity. These days you get text messages about real life and feelings. Still, he had what you call very bad timing, and I thanked him for the very nice compliment as I headed towards a newly freed up agent.
I would get a new plane assignment, that would only prove temporary, as I mentioned before, a coupon for an airport hotel even though I am a local, and a warning that paying the day rate to park at the airport was going to be a must. Where was the positive in this equation?? Oh, right, I actually knew where I had parked!
Still, I was not a happy camper. I was going to miss an important appointment and the reason for my trip.
The next day, on flight two, after minimal sleep, I finally laughed. It was hard, but my seat neighbor quickly revealed her special gift: open-mouthed, sunflower seed chewing then purposeful regurgitation of the bird seed into a barf bag… lips to bag every sixth or seventh seed. I counted to see if she was conscious of this repeated act of crazy, and I wondered what the bag would look like if it was dusted for prints. Undoubtedly, it would keep any forensic expert busy. Then, I closed my eyes and pictured something dreamy, specifically one of my favorite things, and I made it happen.
Rental boat. Check.
Squid and shrimp for the picky palettes. Check.
My old fishing grounds. Check.
I just had a birthday, and no, I’m not telling you guys how young I am!
Isn’t it funny how much we want to be 10-and-a-half. Eighteen. Twenty-one. We want to be older as if it’s a ticket to real life… no obstacles… freedom. Then, you’re squirming in your late twenties, and the questions start rolling in:
Am I happy? Where should I be at this point in my life?
Birthdays have a fantastic way of doing that. Don’t they?
I thought of all of the plans I’ve made over the years: The daydreams I had as a little girl as I played in my parents front yard, and the bold visions I had as a bull-headed college student walking the streets of Boston as if I knew it all. I had it almost all figured out. The city I would live in… the career I would have and the kind of man I would marry. Some of us make so many plans, and those plans always seem to create an expectation or expectations. It’s probably not exactly what we were initially going for. We can do a little sinking under that kind of pressure, but I think, in part, it’s because we’re thinking about it all wrong.
What’s best, at least for me now, is thinking of it as grey area… a charcoal sketch. All of those plans — a sketch that we can turn to for direction as we grow old and hopefully wiser. We can always do a little erasing, smudging and a some shading outside of the lines. I think that may have been a bit of a realization I just had a few days ago, or at least, I really began to truly understand it. So, lets just say, that’s one more year and one more lesson… or TWO. Number two is I’m getting too old for some kinds of crazy.
My uncle offered to let me jump out of a plane strapped to him or some other guy on the big day, but that just didn’t sound enjoyable on any level. He does it every weekend. Picture my face in complete awe every time I’m reminded of that endeavor. Instead, I chose tranquility. I don’t get much of it in the news biz, and luckily, it was the day after Thanksgiving. I was in Miami with my family so relieved I could even put a bikini on underneath a pair of shorts. Well, kind of. Lol.
I had almost forgotten how special the ocean is. How it can make you feel. It had been too long. The translucent, blue-green water…The salt in the air…the birds chirping away…swaying palm trees…It’s magical so I got on a paddle board on Key Biscayne. It was something new, something different…