Right now I am on a plane

Right now I am on a plane, headed to the rich crust of scenery that is Northern California, seated next to a handsome middle-aged man who is reading the paper. There is nothing abnormal about a nice-looking man reading the paper on an airplane. But I’m struck by the ring on his left hand, just wrapped around his finger like it’s nothing. He is nonchalantly reading an article about Britain’s gambling problem and there is a large photograph of a woman wearing a leather sport blazer from Saks Fifth Avenue. It is an odd blazer because it looks like it’s a letter jacket from our high school days, but it’s covered in fur and the woman looks like this is all perfectly natural. Like she needs to eat something and if she just casually models this jacket by a famous designer she’ll get thrown a crust of bread, so she does this one last thing to survive.

And now you think I’m just staring at the paper and this man’s ring and the advertisements from Saks Fifth Avenue, which may seem strange because that is what I’m doing, but not all at one time but instead in short little bursts. Because I am stealth like a spy or federal agent or a woman in love.

I am also watching a little girl, no more than 3 years old, a few rows ahead. She’s sitting on her father’s lap facing backward with little round puffy cheeks that make you want to squeeze them or nip at them or plant little wet kisses on them. There is something about children and puppies that makes us want to do this. She’s eating pretzels and looking around the cabin, because children have the unique ability to enjoy the moment, and right then she was likely tasting the salt in her mouth and watching things just for the sheer joy of doing it. She wasn’t at all worried about landing or what is for dinner or whether she needs to wash her hair. I love children for this sense of presence about them.

Sitting in a plane is an exercise in patience for me, since I don’t like to sit for long periods and I always wonder what people are thinking.   All these brains wrapped up in all these bodies with thoughts firing off in all directions. If I could only see the thoughts like lasers shooting from their minds, it would be like a spy novel where the hero navigates the maze of it all while descending down toward the coveted diamond. I could dodge the red lines all the way to the bathroom in front of the aircraft, maybe even doing a flip or turn in the process.  And yet it’s all trapped and locked up inside of people so they just sit and read and watch football games on their laptops like they are empty.

But people are not empty. It’s just that they must sit and wait until the ride is over.   They can’t exactly jump out the window or nuisance everyone by dying so we all just sit and wait, noshing on pretzels and sipping on sparkling water with lime.

I steal glances at this man beside me, casually wearing a band on his finger, and I am still caught up in a haze. The type of haze after surgery when they give you pain medication and it just washes through you and you think life is good again and you have a strong urge for chocolate pudding. Except I’ve not just had surgery which makes all things better because I can walk around and buy books in the airport and stretch my legs without searing pain. I still want chocolate pudding sometimes, even though that’s juvenile.

I may someday grow weary and my mind may drift and I will be demented, confused about lifting a spoon to my mouth. So I try and sear certain things into my mind so I will not forget them. Like the moment my daughter looked at me when she was six months old, in her pink pajamas with rabbits on them, and I thought “my God she’s talking to me without using any words.” I cried and cried and thought I could never be more happy. I sewed that fabric into a quilt and I touch it sometimes, because of the power it holds. And there’s the moment when my son chewed up a little book and his face was beaming with pride, his hair thick and blond and curly. And the day I first met Mark and we ate at ABC Kitchen in New York City, amidst the sparkling candles and love bubbles that form in one’s stomach upon meeting the person they will someday marry.

All of these scenes will likely pass by someday before I die in a montage of life moments, the pink pajamas and the chewed-up book and Mark’s face, lost in space and time, trapped in a brain full of lasers, boucing around.

Today is one of those moments, looking at this man on a plane reading the paper with a wedding ring on, the ring I slid onto his finger less than two days ago, clutching my mother’s antique lace handkerchief covered in snot.  And it is commonplace to see now, as if it were always meant to be there. And maybe it is, this love, this life, this everyday moment. It was meant to be like this, as I will remember it, one of many things sewn upon my heart.

Right now I am on a plane, off to my honeymoon, off to new adventures, off to anywhere, really.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m with him, the man reading the paper with a ring on his finger.  The life I joined.  The life that sits beside me and within me.  I am just sitting here with laser beams bouncing around in my brain, noshing on pretzels and sipping on sparkling water with lime.

Bumper Sticker Brilliance

 

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Yesterday I saw a truck emblazoned with the marker “1794 edition.” Since cars were a twinkle in Mr. Benz’ eyes up until the 1880s, this seemed strange to me. In 1794, Frenchmen were being executed in a large-scale revolution.  There was a whiskey tax revolt in America.  Eli Whitney got a patent on the cotton gin.  What does this have to do with a truck that uses 15 miles per gallon? I read something about the manufacturing plant being on land that dated back a long time. But that’s dumb.  I instead imagine this truck comes with a cotton t-shirt, a glove-box full of Jack Daniels, and maybe the navigation screams at you in French.

And then just today I saw a bumper sticker that read “God, Guns, and Guts” followed by “Make America Free!” and “Let’s fight to preserve all three!”

Finally, something I agree with.  I, for one, love guts.  I think our guts are not as celebrated as they should be.  Did you know the length of the small intestine is about twenty feet long? What breathtaking biology!

I mean, I’m no fool.  I get it that they are trying to find a short word that start with a G. Because duh, God and Guns. What adorable alliteration.  But what about Goats? I like me a good cabrito kabob. Or Grapes? A double whammy because they are used to make wine AND chocolate-covered raisins. And let’s not forget Goop.  Without Gwyneth, how would we even know to flush our vaginas with lavender? WE WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW.

But guts is better.  It really is.

Did you know the GI system is the only organ system that can act independently of the brain? Your gut has its own nervous system. And there is the Vagus Nerve located in your gut that carries information straight to your brain, meaning gut symbols can be taken as emotions, so maybe trusting your gut is a thing? The other day our pediatrician told my kids at their back-to-school checks that while the small intestine gets your food all chopped up and stripped of nutrients, the large intestine steals all the last remaining water, squeezes it tight, and turns your food into poop. Ha ha! Poop! My seven-year old laughed.

So when you think of things that we need to preserve and keep free, GUTS does come to mind.  We don’t want any restrictions, limitations, or laws negatively affecting this vital part of us.  Keep it free! Let’s fight to preserve it at all costs! When I think of things important to me, naturally my guns are first. And God.  But then? FOR SURE IT’S GUTS.  [I mean maaaaaybe I’d have chosen grapes, depending on the day?]

I think in 1794, they would probably have said the exact same thing.

photo:

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