Friday, March 14, 2014

On The Road Again

I've been everywhere, man. I've been everywhere. 

Not really.
Just 5 days in Colorado. 
Followed by 8 days in California. 
Rounded out with 5 days in Pennsylvania. 
Planes, buses and cars - I've logged a lot of miles in 2014.
My travels aren't extraordinary; they're a trip to the grocery compared to what most people do. 
But I have run out of clean socks and jeans that fit. It's time to stay home for a week. 

There was a time in my life when I couldn't wait to board that next plane. 
I guarded each boarding pass as though it was a golden ticket to a promised land, and in a lot of ways it was. I learned so much with every landing. It is money I'd never want back because the return on investment was exponential. 

Traveling now, I set my alarm, allowing me to hit snooze as many times as possible before stumbling down the stairs for a wake up shower. Forty-five minutes later I stumble to my Escapé in the dark, barely coherent and trying to remember if I've printed my boarding pass and if so, just where the hell I put it? Did I remember face wash? Biggest question of all: Am I driving to Dayton or Indy?

If there is anything I've learned after logging thousands of miles from prairie to coast in my twenties, it is this: I'm not a graceful traveler. There are gals who show up for the 6:10 AM flight looking like they just walked off of a Pinterest board. 

I'm not one of those. I'm typically the one holding up the security line because I can't get my boots off. It's not my fault they don't provide a boot jack. Every single time I walk away from security, frantically looking for my boarding pass and limping on one leg trying to stomp the left boot (right foot, stomp, right foot, stomp) back on while thinking to myself, "It's time to buy Sperry's for travel..."
Never do. 
Never will. 

I always try to find a seat at the gate that provides a view of the runway. Or one with an outlet next to it so I can keep my phone charged. Because if our pilot shows up for the flight appearing drunk, I'm going to need to call someone. Gate time (if I have any, due to too many snoozes) is the place to scope out fellow passengers and pick the ones to avoid. Which is tough to do on a full flight. 
Tough, but possible. 

Once on the plane I like to act like a real jerk, I'll admit it. I strive to be that person that people spot on the plane, and try to avoid. I act angry. I do not give pleasant looks. I rarely smile and I never talk. (If you know me, you understand that I've worked my entire twenties to achieve this ability.) No seat mates allows for more leg room and peaceful sleeping. And there is a story behind that desire. Are you surprised?...

Four years ago I was returning to Indianapolis from Denver after a week out there on business. About to settle down for a long flight's nap, two guys sat down in my row; one in the middle, one on the aisle. They were both in their forties, energetic, happy to be going to Indy. We struck up a conversation while other passengers loaded. I truly just wanted to sleep, but I visited with them anyhow. 

The next thing I know, I'm waking up to the plane touching down in my favorite fly-over state. Realizing I'm still in public, I quickly wipe the drool from my chin and reposition a bobby pin in my hair. I do not look pleasant when sleeping en transit. Head back, mouth open, totally oblivious to any beverage service or seatbelt announcements. Plane, car or bus, I'm usually asleep within 15 minutes of departure. 

Anyway, I straighten up in my seat trying to indicate a bit of class as I turn on my cell phone.
"Have a good nap?" the guy on the aisle energetically asks me with his whiskey breath. 
"Ha!" I laughed, "Yeah, I was out wasn't I?" I nervously asked, cleaning the eye liner from the corners of my sleepy eyes. Understanding that these guys just saw me catching flies at my worst, I said, "My mom always told me I'd never find my husband on an airplane."
The middle man replied, far too quickly, "She was right!"

His response is why I work a bit to discourage folks from joining my row. I am not looking for a husband (thank you, Jesus), I just don't want to be the subject of any Snapchats. 

Lucky for me, my traveling days will slow down a bit after next week and I can sleep on my way home from church with out anyone judging me. Well, almost anyone. 
I'll clean out my suitcase and find shirts so tightly rolled that I forgot I packed them. 
I'll use Google maps and find my way to the grocery to restock our kitchen. 
And I'll again have some solid grasp on what's going on at our homestead. 

But even after those unpacking moments, it is with fondness that I'll look back on the endless amounts of TSA travel size hairspray I've gone through and 50+ lb. luggage restrictions I've blown right past and remember this: 

And made me a wife, after all. 

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