I’ve been up waaaay too long, but I had a plane to catch this morning. I’m the lucky duck with a kitchen pass that is flying to Colorado Springs, CO this morning. As it always happens when I’m working on limited sleep and too much coffee, my brain is on over-drive.
As we were getting ready to taxi out to the runway, I assumed my usual pre-flight occupation – people watching. Airports and planes are great people-watching venues. The expression of, “It takes all kinds…” really does apply!
“Her eyes were dark like huckleberries.” Huckleberries? Seriously?! That was the first sentence in the synopsis on the back of the book that the women across me was reading. “Bodice rippers” is what my mom calls them. Love that term. It tells you all you need to know about the book, among other things…
The woman two rows ahead and across the aisle I had observed in the boarding area. She initially caught my attention because she had a travel blanket that she kept wrapping and rewrapping around her feet. She continued this behavior once we got on the plane and then proceeded to add a large camouflage blanket for her shoulders. Her purse must be like a clown car.
The guy I’m sitting next to was another one that I noted in the boarding area. He had “PERSONAL TRAINER” emblazoned across the back of his jacket. Gee, I wonder what he does for a living? He surreptitiously also observed me while we were waiting to board. I found this odd until I realized how I was dressed. No, I wasn’t wearing anything outlandish or that would get me kicked off of my Southwest flight. Nope, just jeans, tennies and a tech shirt. But… it was the tech shirt and tennies that I was wearing that probably caught his eye. I had on my Merrill “minimalist” running shoes and my National Breast Cancer Half-Marathon tech shirt that has “SURVIVOR” written down the sleeve.
I like to wear comfy clothes when I travel (and most days to be perfectly honest), jeans, tennies and preferably a tech shirt in case I have to do an OJ Simpson-like sprint to catch my flight. Since today was a travel day to a chilly locale, long sleeves and running shoes it was, but I really did seriously consider wearing my beloved cowboy boots. Anyway, I had forgotten that my choice in attire screams athlete and cancer survivor in one fell swoop. Oddly, I sometimes, for very short intervals of time, forget that I’m a cancer survivor. My constant aches and pains never let me forget that I’m an athlete.
I was trying to think about the last time I flew anywhere. It’s been awhile, unlike Joe who flies every month. I had forgotten just how much I actually like to fly. I love watching the ground drift away from the plane – the steep angle of the plane – the view from the windows – the view of the sky as we travel into the clouds. And, the people watching. Some people, like Joe, close their eyes and immediately tune out; some stuff their faces in a book. Others, like me, watch and occasionally will engage other passengers in small talk. Then, there’s always a mom soothing a fussy little one. I remember doing my fair share of that, but honestly I don’t miss it. I’m thankful that the kids can carry their own bags, snacks, and bodies to and from the plane. J
While I love the anticipation of travel and the actual flight, I really dislike the getting to the airport hassle. There are two types of people in regards to getting to the airport – those that are relaxed and those that are not. The relaxed people are those that don’t stress about when they get there, they don’t stress about parking the car, checking the bags, security, nada. Joe and my mom are in that camp. Then there are those of us that wake up hours before we need to leave, if we even sleep at all. We MUST get to the airport ninety minutes or more before our flight leaves. We pack and repack our bags days before our flight. We check, double-check and triple-check that everything is in place and continue to do so until we are at a “comfortable cruising altitude.” My dad and I drive Joe and my mom crazy with our plane travel neuroses, but the feeling is mutual!
This flight is the first one I’ve made by myself in -- I don’t know how long. I’m so used to having the kids with me. There’s no one to tell to stop fighting or hand out snacks to. I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I feel somewhat discombobulated.
Oh wait –I just remembered the last time I flew solo – when I flew home for my cousin Michelle’s graduation from college over a year ago. Then, I was flat-chested, forgetful, puffy and bald from chemo. I’m no longer flat-chested, puffy or bald, but I guess I’m still a bit forgetful. J
The last time I flew with Joe and the kids was when we went to Hawaii last year for Joe’s Ironman. That time, we flew with the Setos and had the kids sitting in a separate section all together. One would think that the plan would have been fraught with peril, but all of our kids are great travelers. Besides, there were plenty of other kids on the both flights over who were traveling with their triathlete parents.
Triathlon is a very family-friendly sport; I pitied the people who were on our flight that were going for something as mundane as to sit on the beach and get a tan. WE had a mission – to celebrate Joe’s accomplishment with friends and family and were ready to PARTY – family-style, of course.
Incidentally, if you want to do some people watching, take a flight with a bunch of triathletes – talk about “interesting” wardrobe choices…
My flight today is a precursor for future celebration. I’m flying out to Colorado Springs to look at land. Why Colorado Springs? After years of thinking that we would move back to Phoenix when Joe retired from the Air Force, we came to the realization that we both wanted to move somewhere green with mountains and a more laid-back vibe than Phoenix has become. We both love Colorado and both of us have made many happy memories there, so Colorado became our goal. We are planning to move there when Joe retires or gets a job there, whichever comes first.
A couple of weeks ago, Joe was in C-Springs for the retirement of his boss from his Aviano days, which was held at the Air Force Academy. He was there for a week, hanging out with Lynn, Al and the kids, reconnecting with old Air Force buddies, and looking at land. Lynn and Al have just purchased a large plot of land in a quiet subdivision next to a regional park, close to the Academy and with gorgeous views of Pike’s Peak. Sounds good to me! Where do I sign up?
Joe prudently decided that before he put in an offer on a plot of land that he thought would be perfect for us, wanted me to fly out to see it for myself. Plus, it was a good excuse to see Lynn, Al, and the kiddos.
So, I’m sitting on a plane watching people read their bodice-rippers, play on their iPads, bundle up their feet, getting grief from the sassy Southwest flight attendant, and giving it right back at her. J I am slowly relaxing, making mental notes to myself about my weekend wardrobe choices that are limited since I only brought a carry-on. I was thinking about changing out the jeans I’m wearing today when I arrive and then just re-wearing them on Monday when I fly home. OMG! I just realized that I have “plane pants” like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory’s “bus pants”. I really am a neurotic traveler. Perhaps moving to Colorado will cure me of that... I doubt it though.