Monday, December 12, 2011

Thoughts on flying home

Along with getting rid of more tangible assets there are digital assets to be dealt with.  I found this little composition on my jump drive from 2009.

I’m coming down from the sky to the flats of Colorado, miles and miles outside of Denver.  The airport here is way out in the flats, away from the mountains.  The terminals are huge and lonely, separated by acres of pavement. Most people here are on their way to somewhere else. Denver is a convenient hub for flights crossing the continent. Once in the airport I ride the motorized walkways not because the distances are too far but just for the novelty of it all. Walking briskly on the walkway moves you along at the speed of a run. I use the layover to explore both ends of the terminal and to get some exercise.  Back at the gate, all the humans queue up in an orderly fashion assisted by the sign posts with groupings and numbers so there is no dispute about who goes first. We all stand around and check our voice mail and email as if something of import must have happened in the two and a half hours we were in flight, disconnected from our worlds.

Then later, on the plane over Kansas, headed to Tennessee, I have a gin and tonic in a little plastic cup with a little plastic stir stick.  This is not my drink but is my father’s drink and I celebrate his passing when I ride on airplanes.  I munch on nuts and read Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” and get all nostalgic about Paris. As he’s all about writing and what it takes to write well and as the gin and tonic and the altitude is having its affect I decide to write, and to write in the style of Hemingway.

Because of the gin and the writing I get a little sad. When I think of all the miles I’ve traveled, all the places I’ve been, and all the people I’ve known I realize I’ve made and lost many connections.  Yet one connection that survives is the family, the ever shrinking family. That one thing stays a constant in my life. No matter what I do or where I go or what’s happening in my world I always go back to visit the family.  Every year or year and a half there is that one short trip, usually a long weekend where I go to first sit across a restaurant table from my brother then later sit on my mother’s couch and hear how everyone’s lives are going.

We are everyday strangers who know each other too well.  Our common bonds are of blood, not of the mind.  I cannot sit still that long when visiting at home and even though I try to be patient I just have to get out and walk sometimes. The lack of stimulus puts me in a coma of sorts and I feel that someone is trying to draw me back into a world I left years ago.

My ears just popped so that means we are descending now. The plane is bouncing around a little bit as we move through the cloud layer.  We’re about 45 minutes out.  I’ve got the cell and my brother has his cell and he will take pride in timing his arrival at the baggage claim at the exact right time factoring in the arrival time and how long he estimates it will take me to walk through the concourse to the pick up. And that will be one focus of our conversation as we glide into the night towards his house. We will take pride in our timing and bring it up later at Mom’s when she asks about the flight.

I’ll sleep in a strange bed and the sun will rise two hours too early. When I visit Mom’s on Saturday she will have a bottle of red wine waiting and I will praise her purchase no matter what she has for me. She’ll have her Bloody Mary at 1:00 PM and maybe a glass of something with dinner then everyone will go to bed early and I’ll stay up and read in the guest room because of the time difference.  I’ll probably knock the Hemmingway out this weekend then resort to whatever I can get my hands on. I’ll eat too much, sit too much, and have a tearful hug goodbye.  When I think about it, with all this time in between us, I said goodbye years ago.

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