I am finally on my flight to Chicago, en route to Lincoln, Nebraska, where I will get to visit and rehearse with my best friend before we head to Lawrence, Kansas, to perform at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest®. Things are not going well so far, as the plane was delayed for over an hour, and that will cause me to miss my connecting flight in Chicago. Oh- and there are four alternately screaming children on my flight. Four. I’m doing my best to think of all this as an adventure…but I’m also thanking God for Bose noise-cancelling headphones and the wonderful calming yoga playlist that Dan put together for me.
I am not a good traveler, and it seems to have worsened with the onset of that time in my life as a woman. I get terribly homesick and weepy before I even leave the house, agonizing about trying to leave our home and the animals absolutely perfect for Dan (not going to happen with shedding machine dogs and a ninety-six-year-old house, but I give it the old college try). You’d think I was going to be exiled to Siberia for a year rather than the Mid-West for fun and inspiration for eleven days. I can handle the hot flashes (well, sort of), but the mental fog is taking its toll. I stepped up to present my boarding pass and ID to the TSA security agent, only to be told that I was in the wrong place. I neglected to mention that eyesight is another thing that seems to have been affected by turning fifty-three. I hung my head in shame and worked my way back through the crowded line to go to the correct security check, my fellow travelers giving knowing nods of sympathy.
I, of course, set off the security sensors with the remaining metal in my ankle. The woman pulled me to the side and looked at the complicated support boot I was wearing…
Can you take that off? I need to make sure nothing is there.
Ummm…I will try. (It’s a production to get the blasted thing on and off, and doing it while standing could be an Olympic event.)
I got it almost all undone and she informed me that I could leave it at that stage.
Is it sore to the touch?
Yes, Ma’am- I just had surgery two weeks ago.
She still proceeded to wipe my ankle all over with a swab anyway, then sent me on to hobble over to my belongings with the long Velcro straps flailing around me. (I learned that they stick to carpet really well…hopefully I at least made someone’s day with the show). It makes me think of the show Seinfeld, and Jerry’s dad, Morty, talking about how much he hates Velcro…”It’s that tearrrrring sound!”
Getting on the tiny, packed plane, I made my usual grand entrance by banging my head on the bulkhead, almost falling into my seat, trying too quickly to get out of the aisle. The man next to me offered his condolences, and I assured him this wasn’t my first rodeo…I am a major klutz on the best of days.
Now my worry wart self is fixated on my suitcase and where it will end up thanks to the missed connection. I’m also seriously worried about it exploding, because another travel woe I suffer from is overpackination (What? It’s a word…sort of). I had to just about jump up and down on that sucker to get it zipped up, and I thought Dan’s back would go out from lifting it into my Mini Countryman. Hey- at least I didn’t bring the really big suitcase we call ‘Big Bertha, the Bringer of Hernias’. Fortunately, my mind was taken off of all that for a little as I recovered from the man who just squeezed past my seat and released gas as a f-parting gift.
So, now I wait and see what Chicago-O’Hare will bring. It’s time for me to chill out, enjoy the beautiful clouds and the soft music in preparation for flight changes, baggage woes, and navigating the crazy airport with a half-healed ankle. If nothing else, there is this….
When I landed, I received word that my flight was cancelled. Now I have a seven hour layover at O’Hare. Going to make the best of it! :))