Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bicoastal Blues

What does it mean, really, to have the kind of life that shuttles me back and forth with regularity from one latitude -- the one with not enough sun, Vit. D or youth, the one just a few miles south of the halfway point between the equator and the n. pole -- and another -- the one with sea and cliff and rainbows of color and too damn many people and cars and overstimulation?

Here I go again, embedded in the airport part of my life, competing in the NWA World Club for one of the chairs near a three-pronged plug, the chairs with black faux marble ovals that can be pulled out to support the computer. We all make a beeline (interesting metaphor -- will it become archaic if the bees die off, or, if the bees die off will we too, making it a moot metaphor?-- for these chairs which work very well, something like the desks with pull out armrests in college classrooms. Only for grownups who need and want extra padding for our derrieres. People graze the ever diminishing choices of snacks up here in the "club" you have to pay for, where the frosted glass doors swing open at your approach and you have to show a card and drivers' license. It's a luxury to be up here, maybe shameful in these times, but I don't feel apologetic. I paid for my membership and Ted's with the honest work of my "pen," my cursor, my Puritanical drive. Didn't charge it. Didn't get a bailout from the U.S. Government for it. Don't fly my private jet anyplace for any reason.

And we upgraded, using precious miles accumulated from our air peripatetic life, to first class. Another luxury I crave and want and want and want -- more space, more privacy, select access to the tiny bathroom (only 20 people or so use the lst class loo) and a flight attendant for only us..."would you like the croissant or the pasta?" "Would you like some more hot tea?" Sometimes they call you by name, from their little lst class chart. "Ms. Worth, would you like a blanket?"

We arrange these comforts, at some cost to ourselves and with the more-than-a-twinge of moral upbraiding that accompanies our mutually guilt-freighted upbringings -- Ted's Catholic childhood in Brunswick, Maine, my Protestant rectitudes of mid-Ohio -- out of a kind of desperate need for safety, space -- the distances we have to traverse to sustain our chosen unusual life large and long. It is sometimes confusing but we do it out of love and commitment -- and a dogged primal drive to protect ourselves and cosset ourselves in the unnatural realm of planes and flying at 38,000 feet -- for love.

1 comment:

mcwflint said...

First class is the only way to travel across the country in daylight. It is the luxury worth getting through coupon clipping and quarter pinching.