This post won't be to everyone's taste and there aren't any pics.  It's just me, thinking about how things used to be after returning from a business trip.  No mention of quilting.  Just a lot of musing.

Remember when travel was fun?  No, I don't mean the 50's kind of luxury air travel when there were curtains on the windows and an airline meal might have included a steak option.  I'm nostalgic for just a few years ago, when we could dress up a little and check our bags for free and we didn't look like sweaty pack mules hauling our belongings through overheated airports, trying to find cold water for less than $5 a pint.  We wander through airports, looking up at signs and trying not to meet anyone's eye.  Hundreds of people, using filthy bathrooms that are being spread further and further apart to leave room for overpriced restaurants and boutique shops that for some strange reason, I see almost no one shop at.  And, speaking of expensive, I had a $15 hamburger and fries for lunch.  Per Diem, or it would have been McDonalds.  The per diem covered my tea, but not the tip.  I long ago decided I would gladly cover the tip when I needed to. 

There was a time I would have sewn hexies together, or knitted a sock.  No more.  I was always nervous that someone would say something awful.  Now, I'm pretty sure they would because so many awful people think they should get to speak their awfulness.  And, I'd hate to have to murder an idiot in an airport.  There's just too much security to be able to get away with it. 

Turns out Thursday is a big day for traveling with small children.  I know.  Everybody just got an image in their heads, and there was definitely one behind me yesterday afternoon that should have been escorted off the plane, mid flight, along with her awful parents who were too wimpy to teach her the word NO (imagine what their lives will be like when she's 15...hahahahahahaha!  life will get revenge for me).  But, there was also a little boy with Downs that was quietly eating a carrot until he saw me, and then he threw his head back and cackled out loud, making everybody in line around me laugh out loud.  So, I talked to him about how good veggies are (is that a good carrot?  Mmmmm) until the line passed by.  And, he smiled and laughed the whole time.  Now, I'm assuming that was a good thing and not because I had something stuck to my face...but you never know.  Would the sweaty pack mule have known?  But, it put me in a good mood, so when I got to my seat and saw the 18 month old girl with her mom in the center seat, I was open to giving it a try (like I had a choice).  While we sat on the tarmac, she played with me.  At first, her mom told her no when she was pushing against me with her feet, but when her mom saw my hand reach under my book and tickle her toes, she relaxed and it got okay.  She settled down and went to sleep before we took off and she slept until her mom woke her during landing.  And, I looked over and caught her looking at my shyly through her eyelashes and she looked away, but started pushing against me with her feet again.  So, there was more toe tickling. 

It's funny how we all bang into one another for moments and then move forward through our lives.  I wonder just how many people I've encountered during my life in little moments just like these.  I hope more of those encounters were good for the other person than those that were bad.  Unfortunately, I carry the burden of knowing that a lot of the encounters were unpleasant on my part.  But, maybe I've grown enough to know that they weren't all bad.  There were a lot of good encounters.  There is something about me that is changing and letting me remember and appreciate the good encounters I've had.  I think maybe the difference between depressed people and happy people is that ability to reflect on the good stuff. 

Sydney is still sick.  She gave it to me.  I fought it hard all the time I was away and yesterday afternoon, knew that it was over.  She did not fight it so hard, and she got worse.  I put her over a pot of steamy water and doubled the dose of the OTC that we use.  And, now Rob has the sniffles.  And, yes, I was the sick guy at the airport, potentially infecting everybody I encountered.  I was also the guy that was washing his hands every 6.5 minutes and taking enough meds that I didn't cough or sneeze or sniffle and when I did clear my throat, it was into my elbow and I made sure I didn't touch anything.  Germs are not like the take-a-penny, leave-a-penny jar.  I didn't feel like I had a choice.  I wasn't sick enough not to go.  I wasn't running a fever.  And, before I got through TSA, I had encountered somebody that was sicker than I was.  A lot sicker.  And, everybody took two steps back.  It was like she was in an invisible bubble as we all made sure to stay out of her space.  She looked so miserable and sad.

I took a book to read.  I had read it before.  I had very fond memories about it as a wonderful book.  I had lost it for a long time and it turned out I had loaned it to Rob and when he was cleaning things out in the garage, it turned up.  It's a wonderful set of short stories where the characters in each story have things in common and in each story, the characters (main char, partner, mom, dad) have the same name, so there's continuity, but each story is unique.  It's from the late 80's, and I recognize themes and memories of my own, when we lived with homophobia and the AIDS crisis.  When the gay lifestyle was less mainstream.  And, I gotta tell you, I can't go back to that.  Once out of the closet, I just don't see me ever being able to go back in.  So, the book is making me feel uncomfortable.  And, I'm pretty sure that's what the author wants me to feel.  But, I doubt that he thought his book would still be able to hold up as a true reflection of what life was like all these years later and I'm not sure he would know how socially relevant it is in today's rhetoric.  It's not for everybody, not because it's pornographic, but because it's full of hard life and death imagery.  It was perfect to keep me fully engaged during a bumpy flight. 

The author's picture is on the back.  It's a picture from 1992 when the author was a young hottie, imitating James Dean, with a far away look.  I looked him up on the internet as I was waiting in a jetway to see if he was still alive and saw his picture today.  Paunchy and bald.  An old man.  And, I looked up and saw my reflection in a window.  Paunchy and bald.  An old man.  We're both so lucky to have lived long enough to be paunchy and bald.  Old men.

I listened to a young girl in the boarding line talking about how her dad had suddenly gotten old between her trips home.  About how he is retired and has land and toys, like a tractor.  And how much fun he's having.  I didn't say it, but I thought, how lucky he is to be paunchy and bald.  An old man. 

Everybody have a great Friday.  I've got so much catching up to do at work.  I had access to everything for work, but no time to get anything done.  So today will be a hard run to see if I can get caught up before a new weekend begins.  Because I am not working over the weekend.  I'm quilting (okay, there it is, a mention of quilting!)  I'm making another practice sandwich and trying some of the stuff I read about in Wendy Sheppard's Stitching Pathways book.  She's got me as excited as Gaudynski and Hargrave did.



Unknown said...

Dear Lane, I so very much love your blog and your no-nonsense style of writing. I have come to the conclusion that these children are "thumbing their noses at their parents", including my grandchildren. The parents aren't following through with anything, except giving them junk and stuff. We were also just flying and it is becoming torture.

Feel better and take care of yourself and your awesome family.

Sharon in, dang its COLD, Colorado

Mary said...

We are just getting ready to go hop on an airplane to fly some where warmer and not looking forward to that time in the airport. I much prefer our driving vacations however, can't quite drive to a Caribbean island from Canada. Rest, drink fluids and above all keep quilting.

jane said...

I loved hearing your stories today.

I flew on planes in the 50s and 60s and I will not get on a plane ever again. For all of the comments you made. People used to dress in clean and somewhat dressy clothes. Now it seems they wear their pjs on planes. Not to mention the security changes. And stories of dragging people off of planes for no reason whatsoever. Planes used to run to the minute and now people are spending a lot of time waiting to take off or just get off the plane. The last time I flew was the year 2000 and I never will again.

Mari said...

Flying is anightmare now and I don't envy you the travel. Good thing you had a good book! (In that same time period, the late 80s, my uncle took to wearing a tshirt that said "closets are for clothes." Doing his part to bend the arc of the moral universe.) I always enjoy your stories Lane, and hope you are well this weekend. Rest is best!

Megan said...

Lane - thanks for sharing your reflections on travelling by air. My husband and I travel to the USA every now and then. The flight to and from Australia is pretty good, but once we land and have to switch to internal flights between cities in the USA it becomes just horrible. We accept the security requirements and appreciate that the aim is to keep us safe - so we've just gotta get through that part of the process.

But the way people behave in airports and on flights in the USA is simply appalling. Everyone seems so angry and self-centred and pushy and many of the staff are too. I can't say that I blame them because, poor souls, they're copping flak from cranky customers about disappointing airline policies and practices that they have to implement but can't do anything to change or they're working in restaurants having to charge exorbitant prices for third-rate food. I wonder how they manage to turn up to work every day.

Like you, I make an effort (sometimes) to have short encounters with people I meet. My 'cute' Australian accent is always a good conversation starter and there's always the 'where are you going? and why?'

Come on 'down under' and see how the other half live! I can't promise that the dress standards on internal flights in Australia are any better - indeed, they may be even more casual than in the USA. And you'll pay a lot more for the ticket but ... it is much more pleasant. Much more. LOL

Sydney, Australia

The Joyful Quilter said...

Sorry you managed to catch whatever bug Sydney is sending around. Hope your household is feeling better soon!!

Dot Wankat said...

It sounds like you had a rough trip. But what also stays with me is that you were still making the world a better place, in this case the two children. And I expect there were other instances that didn't come to mind.

Thank you for each one of your blog posts. You are, by turns, thoughtful, encouraging, and generous sharing your quilting knowledge. And you are one of the best examples, in my experience, of how to live your best life.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lane, tickling the toes of the baby perhaps put her to sleep. Maybe her mom was traveling to see a dying relative. You never know what kind of impact you make. Many times you've made us stop and think. Hell, I even yelled at a lady in a public washroom this week and told her to wash her hands, as she was running out the door. Public restroom! Thanks for your blog. It's the weekend, Rob? ROB?....take care of our friend. We adore him and he needs to get back to his quilting. Mary

Becky said...

Love this post! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and enjoying your quilting.

Love you bunches,

Anonymous said...

My, my, what a post. So happy I did not have to fly with you. Maybe you will not have to take another trip for a long time. Sorry everyone is feeling bad. It usually goes thru an entire family once it starts. Get well soon. So far we have not caught it. I am writing this Sunday night, hope you were able to spend as much time as you wanted on your quilting. I have said it before, I'll say it again, you do such good work, putting colors together, etc. you have come a long way since the nine patch. lum

PugMom said...

Today's the day, Lane. The day I finally comment on your blog. I've been reading your blog for several years and I just love it. I keep it on my blog roll so I don't miss a post. I enjoy everything that you write about: your family, your quilting, and your garden. Your work stories make me chuckle. Your quilting is amazing. Keep it up! Pugs and kisses,