So I just flew back from Germany with my family, and what’s the first thing I see at the screens at JFK? Not my connecting flight – lordy, we’d missed that already, because JFK is still JFK, and it is dysfunction beyond any mere family dynamic. No, the tube is tuned to CNN, and Prop. 8 has just been relegated to the history books. Wahoo! I’ve been a loud cheerleader for the “equal-protection” argument all along, even before Olsen and Boies bet the house on it. From what I gleaned, it sounds as though “equality” carried the day. I’ll know more about the judge’s reasoning tomorrow, I guess, when I’m a bit less stunned from jet lag and oxygen deprivation.
We also got an impromptu lesson on how to drive an airport shuttle bus. Because Delta had mucked with our flight times without telling us, then parked us on the tarmac for a good half hour before finding a gate, then sliced more of our connection time by unloading baggage as if it were my grandma’s porcelain (one piece at a time, almost prissily), and then vetoed any chance of catching our original flight by sending us to wait for an inter-terminal train that was broken. It only went one way. The wrong way.
Hey, JFK has improved since our last sojourn there: the one with flood, tornadoes, and threats of arresting my darling husband.
So yeah, the shuttle. We rebooked for the last flight out of the day, and then got on this “shuttle,” where the driver needed to be instructed on how to put it into reverse, how to stay under 10 mph – no, really, UNDER 10 MPH! – and here’s where you have to make sure no plane is crossing your path, and here, and here – it was like watching an astronaut getting his first training, except you’re in the space capsule with him, and you’re positive you’re about to crash with the people you love best, plus their stuffed animals. None of the seats have belts. There are only four seats. I keep hectoring the Tiger to hang on (FER FUCK’S SAKE! …well, that part was conveyed by my tone). The newbie’s teacher said, at one point, “Just like driving in New York.” Fuck yeah. I’ve driven in New York. I wasn’t ready for primetime, but this gal wasn’t even in line for the late-late show. Also, she didn’t have my 16-year-old blonde sister to dangle out the window as a peace offering for a scary traffic move. This was the real thing, weaving in and out of 767s and more.
The shuttle adventure was awesome simply because we lived to tell the tale. Also, the other family riding it had two children who clearly intend to grow up to be Dora and Diego (from Nickelodeon, aka Dora the Explorer). The Tiger righteously complained about their decibels. Might he be inching toward his own genuine appreciation for an “indoor voice”?
More delays, this time presided over by an Asian-American flight attendant who keeps us down to three minutes tops outside the confines of our seatbelt. People turbo-pee, then wait out the end of the flight, wondering if said flight attendant might earn more money for less bother as a dominatrix. (Okay, I admit it: I am the wench wondering that.)
We finally land in Columbus at 10:30, just before our car rental agency is about to close. As I grab my gate-checked bag, I note that it has grown a new strap that seemingly sprouts from the top of it. I ponder whether this could be a trunk, and if so, might my carryon be morphing full-blown into an elephant? If so, how should I expect it to change in the days ahead? (Note that hallucinations have already seized center stage in my perception.) Then I notice the Emirates tags on the faux-Sungold luggage. Oops, someone grabbed the wrong red bag. My sweetheart husband sprinted toward the baggage carousel. By pure coincidence, I spotted and waylaid the lovely and apologetic perp as she left the ladies’ room. My computer cord was in there, so if it had scampered away, I wouldn’t be writing this now. But hey, full disclosure: A couple years ago, I was the woman who took off with someeone else’s crimson carryon, certain no one else had a matching color. I’m pretty sure I was less gracious, more doofus-y, and just plain panicked.
From Columbus, my beloved drove back from the airport in spires, gyres, and forks of lighting that backlit the night sky green-violet-grey. At times you didn’t need headlights at all. We found an all-Grateful-Dead, all-the-time station on Sirius radio. (Why do I not have this in my daily life?) It was the best Dead light show, ever. But then again, I didn’t have to drive. All that was missing was China Cat, Black Peter, and Terrapin Station. I love my husband a little extra for taking on the responsibility and letting me enjoy the storm – a pleasure that echoes back to my dad, and to his mother before him.
Oh, and we got a whiff of skunk as we inched through the Hocking Hills. Just to remind me that this is home. (I think the skunkish message for my husband is a whole lot more contradictory: home/not-home/fascinating-weird. But he likes it!)
And now I’m back in our beloved house, feeling melancholy about places and friends left behind in Berlin. I’ll reintegrate in the next day or two. Transitions like this are always beastly for me. But as the Dead remind me again and again, transitions – those unbounded, undefined spaces between the songs, even the very gaps between the notes (focus on Jerry and Phil to see what I mean) – are the wellspring of creativity and innovation and surprise and ineffable beauty. Coward that I am, I shouldn’t shrink from transitions just because they exact massive housework (like moving house, really) and overtired children (who were both champs).
In the meantime, until I can fully appreciate transitions and the Prop 8 victory, I drink a marbiggie (aka a slightly oversized martini), applaud the Prop 8 decision, and lay me down to rest.
Update 8/6/2010: I fixed a few typos. I’m sure there are more. Writing on jetlag and lightning intoxication is a sure recipe for fingers running amok on the keyboard.