Up Up and Away

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Off I go again on another flight , on another airplane, again dreading the entire experience.

I try, I really do try, to convince myself each time how fortunate I am to be able to travel from one coast to the other several times a year. I berate myself  – (you’re so spoiled, unappreciative, ungrateful) – as I regretfully hand over my boarding pass after waiting until the last possible moment to board. Continue reading

Tunnel Vision

Golden Gate Bridge, San FranciscoI make it through the six-hour flight from Boston to LA. I endure the two-hour wait at LAX, a sprawling compound of too many high-stressed, higher ego-ed people, and then the hour hop to SFO.

I hold my breath, remember to release it as we wait, and wait, and wait for our baggage, which finally rolls around the moving horseshoe 45 minutes after we’ve landed.

Our driver, as roly poly as a malt ball, leads us to his small sedan. I fall back in the car seat, my guy’s briefcase sitting like a rock between us as we speed away from the airport and toward the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County, and freedom from motion once our front door is reached.

But no, instead the car idles in stop and go, bumper-to-bumper malaise on 19th Avenue. On this beautiful Sunday afternoon, thousands and thousands of Bay Area lovers are traveling – somewhere – and are stuck instead on a concrete highway to nowhere.

San Francisco, 19th Avenue, Golden Gate Bridge, traffic

I look out the window at tiny duplexes, the commercial shops selling rubber tires and plastic flowers, the newly sprouted garden lots and dingy gas stations, and I think… uh oh.

A hundred yards from the MacArthur tunnel (the big dark hole we have to drive through to get nearer to the Golden Gate Bridge), I exclaim, loudly yet unintentionally, “Okay, I have to get OUT of here!!”

My guy’s startled glance helps me realize that I sound a bit – crazy? – and the eyes of the front-seat malt ball get rounder and bigger as he stares at me through his rearview mirror.

I open my window – car fumes, anyone? – and pray we don’t stop inside that tunnel. I could lose it – like an inmate too long in her cell. I could kick open the door and run away from the dark dangerous hole of a tunnel toward – what? Would there be light at the end of my tunnel? Or would there be…

MacArthur Tunnel, San Francisco, traffic, Golden Gate Bridge

Something is tapping my knee. Softly at first, then more insistently.

I open my eyes (not realizing they had been squeezed tightly shut) and reach for the item my guy is handing me. His cell phone? With a cord attached to it?

Oh, ear plugs.

Wordlessly, he motions for me to put the ear pieces on. I do, reluctantly. What bad news am I going to hear? The traffic report, for God’s sake?classical  music, music, driving, tunnel, claustrophobia

But no, I hear flute and cello, violin and piano, harmonizing the sounds of angels singing. The music wafts into my brain and my body and my heart. Sweet soulful sounds symbolizing life on the other side of the highways and small cars and tunnels. Life full of green grass, blue skies, puffy clouds, birds soaring, lovers hugging, children laughing. joy trumpeting.

The car stops. My guy reaches for his phone and turns off his app to KDFC, the classical station, because…

            We

                        Are

                                    Home.

Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County

Who Am I? Who Are You?

Who Am I?I’m a curly-haired woman who loves fairytale fantasy, long walks along the water, communing silently with babies and animals, and reading for hours in a deep plush chair while sipping Tropical Green tea.

I dislike vapid vain chatter; inconsiderate drivers who turn without blinking; wayward souls who act as if they run the world; grocery carts with broken wheels; men who pinch women’s rears (yes, still!); unanswered e-mails; unplucked eyebrows; arguments; orange vests; and fruit drinks.

My heart soars with the soft, whisper-filled kisses of little ones; a sun salutation on a Hawaiian beach; a spontaneous loud laugh m&m'sfrom a coworker; a handful of M&M’s, particularly the green or blue ones; a sudden embrace from my irreplaceable guy.

The sounds I most enjoy: the swish of pens on paper (and the clack of a laptop) during one of my creative writing classes; the pounding surf on the New Jersey seashore; the beat of a Beatles tune; the bark of Henry, the dog, as he sits in front of his cookie jar,; the beginning melody of The Nutcracker Suite ballet; the soft plop of an omelet-filled plate placed in front of me at a sunny San Francisco corner café; the ‘hello Pammy’ call from my effervescent magnetic mom.

Hawaiian beach, solitude, happiness, loveLife is worthwhile because of soft classical music on a cold Sunday morning; two-hour conversations with a long-time friend; a tall diffident son who stares deeply into my eyes and says, ‘Love you, Mom’; a 2-year-old grandchild who sits quietly, attentively on my lap while listening to Good Night Moon; a foggy afternoon writing stories about people I’ve never met; a man who runs out to buy my special Earl Gray tea latte, non-fat milk with foam at 6:15 in the morning; a beautiful daughter who wears her heart on every sleeve and her love in her morning glory eyes.

That’s who I am.

Who are you?