Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Notes from an Airplane

"It's like an Italian train now, everybody brings their own food on the plane," my Mom said as I was packing for our trip to the Rockies. Her comment brought back pleasant memories of the 6 months I spent in Italy during college. Traveling by train was quite an experience; the trains were mobbed all the time, by people of all ages, and not only did everyone bring their own food, but they offered it around to everyone else. I had never seen a blood orange before the day I was offered one by an elderly Italian on a train and, while I was reluctant to try it - it looked like a mad scientist had injected it with, well, blood - it remains the best orange I've ever eaten.

The sharing of food when traveling the Italian trains created cameraderie, made friends of strangers. I could never imagine that same kind of experience here in the US, where everyone is so into their own lives, talking on the phone, working on the laptop, earbuds closing out the world. But I was pleasantly surprised by our trip out here; while no one shared food, our fellow passengers took the time to be friendly, offered to help with bags, complemented my two (good-as-gold) flying boys.

Here are a few I-wish-the-camera-wasn't-packed moments:

When Luke found his suprise Star Wars Gameboy "chips" (as he calls them). The Gameboy has been out of favor since it committed the grievous sin of lacking two screens, but has been granted a reprieve during our trip!

Owen fell asleep while reading the flight safety brochure, the one that describes in pictures how to inflate the exit door slides, use an oxygen mask, etc. The flight attendants, jaded people if there ever were any, each stopped by to ooh over our little one, fast asleep and presumably dreaming about seat flotation devices.

For myself, I kept it together during the trip, I'm proud to say! My only non-Zen moment had to do with the safety brochure; Luke asked how we'd get home after jumping from the plane with our seat flotation devices... I just couldn't tell him the odds of survival in that event. His face looked so beautiful and innocent, aglow with the simple trust of childhood that, somehow, we'd get home after evacuating from a plane. It was very moving.

Final wish-I-had-the-camera moment: driving into my folks' neck of the woods, I saw the most amazing view! A smallish, snow-covered mountain ringed by many larger ones, and in the background a horizontal-striped sunset sky that (to my jet-lagged brain) looked like the rings of Saturn. A nice way to arrive!

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