Tuesday, September 4, 2007

From Here to There and Back Again

I love to travel. But I hate the journey. There’s that mind-numbing waste of time sitting in the airport waiting to find out if your plane will make an expected appearance or keep you waiting like a hopeful old maid. And you can’t beat a coach seat for spawning creative ways to cross your legs in less than 3 inches. But mostly I hate the journey because, no matter how great a place I’m traveling to, inevitably, I end up packing until 2 am and getting up earlier than mankind was made to get up in order to catch a plane that doesn’t puddle jump across the country.

So I arrive exhausted.
And achy.
And cranky.
Husband, on the other hand, thrives on no sleep, and arrives at our latest destination ready and willing to talk dinner reservations.

Vacation Day #1 - 6:15 am
Me: aaaaaah, what is that? What is that?
Husband: Sunrise.
Me: I’m melting......I’m melting.....
Husband: The cab to the airport is here.
Me: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The past few years, Husband and I have repeated this dance every Labor Day weekend, flying across the country to go play in New York City. At home, it’s still 300 degrees and you move from one air conditioned sealed environment to another. In Manhattan, the weather is starting to change, it’s a balmy 78 degrees, and half the population has left the city for the beaches so there are only a few million left on the sidewalks. We checked into our usual hotel, The Helmsley Park Lane, just across the street from Central Park. I was tempted to ask the concierge what he thought about Leona Helmsley leaving $12 million to her dog, but Husband said to leave it alone.

We had a great time doing things we never do at home; buying junk food from street vendors (there are none in Arizona because it’s 300 degrees outside), shopping in stores twice the size of their branches at home (they actually carry my size in NYC), going to Broadway shows (the theatres in NYC are old, gorgeous and full of top rate theatre productions--the theatres in Arizona are modern anticeptic blocks filled with “B” road companies), strolling through Central Park (if there are any trees in Arizona parks, they’re usually mesquite trees, and again, it’s 300 degrees outside), dining at one fabulous restaurant after another (restaurants at home fall into one of two categories–Mexican or Hunk-of-Meat), and exploring the wonders of one great museum after another (most Arizona museums are about 3,000 year old indigenous Indian tribes).

Daughter #2 and Boyfriend even came down from College Town and met us for a couple of days. On Sunday, we put them into a cab to go to the train station, and we got into another one for the airport. Thanks to all the bills we put on our credit card, we had earned enough frequent flyer miles to snag first-class seats on the way home. I love flying first class. Our plane even got in 20 minutes early. All in all, it was a wonderful vacation.

Until we went to claim our luggage.

The terminal was nearly empty with only one flight listed ahead of us on the baggage board. The Chicago luggage came and the people left. The Las Vegas luggage came and those people left. When the Atlanta luggage came, and their owners left too, the crowd from our flight started getting ugly. Husband was pacing and muttering, and as the baggage board flashed a new message that the St. Louis baggage was now arriving, Husband bolted for the nearest service desk. It was now almost 50 minutes after we landed, and the sheen from our wonderful trip was wearing thin. Husband returned with the encouraging message that somehow the luggage handlers had forgotten to off load an entire plane of luggage! Really? We hadn’t noticed. I should probably mention at this point that if you have the opportunity to fly US Air, don’t. I’d go into details, but that would take another blog to describe it all.

At home now, I think about the journey from here to there and back again. It’s not unlike the little journeys we take every day, full of unexpected joys and stumbles. Sometimes our trips are uneventful, and sometimes (if you take US Air) it takes us longer to complete our odyssey. Wonderful Mother-in-Law (really) thought her journey with chemo and radiation was over, but this week she travels again to the Cancer Center for treatments to knock down the latest re-occurrence. We’re hoping it’s an easier journey than the last one.

We’ll travel again this weekend, along with Daughter #1, to visit Wonderful Mother-in-Law and Wonderful Father-in-Law (really, him too), to attend Niece’s First Baby shower, and to visit recently widowed Aunt S. We’ll be carrying a lot of baggage, but most of it will be in our hearts and minds.


musing said...

Enjoyed reading this!

I don't understand people who thrive on no sleep.

Confessions from the sandwich generation said...

Me neither! I love to stay up late, but I also love to sleep late.