Two Quick Stories Before Other Things

Drove my friend Christine to the airport this morning. On the way we talked about the dearth of food on planes these days. I mentioned how I do love to bring food from home onto the plane. I think it reminds me of old stories I’ve read where the young man or woman is sent out into the world for whatever reason, and on the train, they open a basket full of provisions and memories of home. I was telling her that I have particular affection for carrying a homemade turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving. There is something about the bread, warm and smooshed from riding in a densely packed carry-on, the shards of turkey, the thin layer of Miracle Whip and maybe a wilted lettuce leaf, that makes me so happy, as if I too am just launching into the world for the first time.

Christine told me about going on a trip with her mother. They hadn’t been getting along for several days–alternately arguing and not speaking to each other. Then, waiting at the airport–I think the plane had been delayed–her mother opened up her bag, and withdrew a handful of hard-boiled eggs. Christine looked at this, and laughed. For some reason–that was no real reason, just the way things happen sometimes–all the tension between them disappeared, and they sat in the airport and ate hard-boiled eggs together.
She told me another story as we passed the Denny’s near the airport. She had come with Paul to pick me up from the same airport earlier this month. The plane was late, so they had pulled into the Denny’s lot to wait (L.A.’s version of a “cell-phone lot” that they have at other airports.) As they sat in the car she looked into another car, and saw a man crying. Full on crying, she said, not holding back his grief and pain. But then the man turned to the back sit, where there were two kids, and his face changed. He smiled and pulled faces, antics to keep them amused. Then he turned back to the front and resumed his crying.
The “other things” of the title refer to really only one thing: Today I’m going to clean things in my house. I’ve been psyching myself up for a few days, and I’m actually looking forward to it, for the moment. I figure I can listen to a full audio book as I fold laundry iron our new drapes. I’m planning to skip the gym and call scrubbing the tub a workout. It’s raining out, and unless hunger drives me to the taco truck, I might not leave the house again today. After weeks with social obligations each night, the thought of wearing my sweats until dark, and maybe then wearing them to bed feels cozy and luxurious. (Although they may be infused with lemon scented cleansers by nightfall, which Paul might not find cozy and luxurious.)

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