I’m about halfway through a flight from Boston to San Francisco, a work thing. First time flying Virgin America and it was a rough start at the terminal. I left behind a half-drunk cup of coffee–Kerri assured me she wouldn’t waste it–because I couldn’t take it through security anyway, and I’m a neurotic traveler so I just like to know I’m at the gate. So much for a Starbucks or a Dunkin Donuts or an airport lounge that would have given me an excuse/opportunity to drink a Bloody Mary…instead there was only a Cosi Presto kiosk with bad coffee but half-decent hard boiled eggs and yogurt/fruit/granola parfaits.
The waiting area was both cramped and crowded, the gate service awkward, and the airline itself tries awfully hard to be something that I can’t quite figure out. My window seat was occupied by a woman who conveniently speaks (or pretends to speak) no English so I moved to the aisle. Her husband who also doesn’t speak English apparently also doesn’t understand manners as his elbow has been lodged in my upper arm for most of the flight, his forearm covering my entertainment controls. And she’s been sneezing constantly, one after the other in rapid succession, for about the last three minutes.
In any case, I was able to get tuned in to the movie Notting Hill, which for over a decade since it first came out, I’ve been calling Nodding Off. And the interesting thing is I kind of liked it this time. Maybe because I finally have real love in my life I can appreciate the little nuances of knowing and needing someone in ways that you never really knew existed.
I was really sad leaving this morning. I like my life, I like my people…I like my routine. But I also do like the job that I’m traveling for, even though I’ve got more time on the road than would be my preference. So I’m trying to reacclimate to the rigor of business travel, and the mistaken and idiotic notions of its glamour. It’s a study in patience and adaptability and making each moment fun and happy because I’m in complete control of my circumstances. Albeit in the context of circumstances outside of my control, the ones that have me spending my weekend (plus Monday and Tuesday, into Wednesday morning) traveling to, in, and from San Francisco.
It’s a city that I’ve not spent time in in probably a dozen years, maybe even 15, which feels strange given that is someplace I used to be very comfortable in, and at one point actually considered moving to. So I’m considering those lifetimes ago, in the context of the life I have now, and reflecting, reflecting, reflecting.
And now I’m watching Sleepless in Seattle and am beyond grateful that I plunked down the $200+ on the Bose noise-cancelling headphones. I’m not sure I can ever fly without them again. In the crowd and chaos and movement of the flight, I’m feeling like I’m floating in an auditory and sensory oasis. And I’m reminded of the things I don’t like about travel, like the smells and and people who pull on the seat in front of them to stand up, or touch every seat that they pass on the way to and from the bathroom. Or why the guy next to me has played with his video screen the whole flight, even though hie. Has no headphones…and why is he watching my to, even though his is on….and even though he still isn’t wearing headphones. I also am reminded of the things that make me giggle, like the person who gets on the plane and mouths there seat number, say, 27D, the whole way down the aisle, looking left and right, just in case the rows aren’t chronological and the number assignments are arbitrary.
In any case, I don’t need saving and if I did I don’t need this city to do it. But the Train song has been in my head, and some of the lyrics resonate. I had a decent day, don’t like being by myself, miss my girlfriend, and can’t quite reconcile how a place that seemed one at to you at one point in time now feels so different…I guess the life you live and your level of comfort changes everything. Life changes. I know that. But I feel it differently here. I’ve been known to talk about wishing I lived a different life. But today I raise that I am living the right one. It’s a perfect fit for me. I think I’ll have a happy few days here, and I think I’ll be happier to be home.