Now that I'm back at Tulane after a somewhat extended spring break, I'm once again privy to the delightful insights of my pedantic poetry professor, who told us today that, "The Virgin Mary makes frequent visits to Italy if all the reported sightings of her are to be believed...it appears that she's a frequent flier between heaven and earth." He delivers this line while wearing an all tan linen suit. I, much like the Virgin Mary, am a frequent flier. Except generally I stick to in-country travel and I skipped the whole messy business of bearing the son of God. Jury's still out as to whether or not we have similar temperaments, but anyway. You get the idea.
I guess in the grand scheme of things, I really don't fly that much. I think maybe it just feels that way because I'm still convinced I swirl around in a time warp every time I board an airplane. Or maybe I've sat at just enough gates and shoved my backpack under just enough seats and glared at just enough seatmates now to know that it's not all it's cracked up to be.
No, that's overly pessimistic. Flying is all it's cracked up to be. Sure, your nose dries out and the people sitting next to you might take their socks off and rub their feet perilously close to your lap, but hey! You're still getting between point A and point B a hell of a lot faster than in a car! Actually, in all honesty, I prefer road tripping. Car time doesn't quite scramble my rotten little brain like air time does, and you don't have to obsess over when to ask the person in the aisle seat to move so you can go to the bathroom. Also, I'm still moderately terrified by the toilets on airplanes. On my way to Chicago* I barreled through the bathroom door and onto a flight attendant in my hurry to avoid hearing the flush. She was, in a word, frazzled by my sudden appearance. I was more relieved than anything else. Didn't get sucked in this time, but it was definitely touch and go there for awhile.
But I digress.
I think the heart of my apathy towards air travel is that the airport is now a place tinged with a certain sadness for me, a sadness that gets more ornery with every departure. Some days I imagine a pedantic older gentleman following me as I wander through the terminal, getting coffee I don't need and reading the backs of books I won't buy. He shakes his head reproachfully at me every now and then because that sadness, he knows. He knows I'm only trying to stay distracted, to put off the nagging sensation I get sometimes that I'm hanging in the balance of two lives and not really committing to either. And that in either case, life goes on without me. Don't think I don't know how desperately I'm loved in both existences I've made for myself, and how much I'm missed when I'm gone from either. But regardless, there are still dinners to make and practices to get to and work to do and classes to take and sunny days and rainy days, whether or not I'm there. Sometimes that's a hard thing to know and sometimes it's great, really quite liberating. So when sadness comes to pat me on the shoulder I just say not this time, sir, today is not your day. And he goes on his dreary way, shoulders slumped into a cardigan, hands in pockets. He's the guy holding up all the people on the moving walkways. You know the one.
Then I get on the airplane and think about how stupid suburbs look from the air and how I'm going to get to the bathroom, and when the drink lady is going to come by. And then when I get to wherever I'm going, I'm suddenly back in the midst of whatever wonderful place it is and then just as suddenly, it's the end of March and I have to start some new time warp theories because just a few seconds ago it was Valentine's Day and yesterday was Christmas. I haven't even gotten worked up over my looming 21st birthday yet, and it's two weeks away! So much stress, so little time.
*A city among towns! Get it? I was going for a "man among boys" reference there but I'm not sure it worked. Oh well.