My airplane story certainly doesn’t rival my daughter Talia’s 41-hour and 12 changed/ cancelled flights fiasco getting to Northern Michigan from Paris, but still it had its dramas. Got to the small Traverse City airport with my other daughter Kerala and the grandkids, two different flights 15 minutes apart heading to Chicago, me to make the San Francisco connection, them to make the Portland one. Things looked promising weather-wise and after my fond farewells, got on my flight and we headed out to the runway. Things were looking promising!
But of course, we stopped and the captain announced they’re not accepting many planes in Chicago due to weather, stayed on the runway for an hour and then headed back to the gate. While we were coming back to the gate, my daughter’s plane was going out. Since we were both going to Chicago, this made no sense whatsoever. And of course, they sat on the runway while I had another hour back in the airport before the same flight would try to leave again. Texting furiously, we decided that even though I already missed my SF connection in Chicago and they’d probably miss their Portland one, we should get to Chicago and I should get a hotel for us. (With a pool, my grandson insisted).
Are you still awake? As Talia always tells me, airplane stories are dramatic to live through, but boring as hell to hear about if you weren’t there. So the short story is that I booked the hotel, got to Chicago and the next message from Kerala was “We ran off our plane to the gate and made the flight to Portland!!!” And so I was alone for my Super 8 Hotel experience—and of course, had to pay the $115 for the room with no compensation from the airlines.
It was interesting to be relatively relaxed because I wasn’t about to miss teaching a workshop or returning in time to teach school. I had a reasonably pleasant evening, courtesy of Netflix, got up and out the next morning with good weather and my flight on time and even a Premium kind-of-business-class seat with two good movies. And greeted by good weather in San Francisco after weeks when it apparently was cold, foggy and smoky. Yeah!
So back to my house where I hadn’t been for five weeks, shopped at Trader Joes, unpacked, sorted mail, opened windows and aired out the house, did a laundry, walked through the Park to get some Tartine bread (but they were out), my Califia Oatmilk (just one left), some banking, loving the smell (non-smoky) of the West Coast air and noting the more diverse folks on the street than in the little town of Frankfort, Michigan and the presence of Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants within a two-block radius in my neighborhood. Michael Meade recently referred to a West African idea that Nature is Spirit clothed in green and added his idea that Culture is Spirit wearing a multi-colored robe. I can relate to that.
And then there was my piano, my rusty fingers making up in freshness what was missing in in-shape technique. It’s good to be home and particularly special to have the house to myself as my wife keeps her summer going for two more weeks in Michigan. Time to turn toward the Fall and without the structure of school to focus my days, the choice of which of some ten projects I should begin (or complete), which new classes and workshops I should offer, which schedules I should create for myself so that I don’t just wander through distractions. The gift and challenge of retired life.
Top of the list: Write more interesting blogposts than this one!