It wasn't the flight we were supposed to be on but we were making do. We sat at the gate for hours filling time by reading books, flipping through magazines and playing tetris on a big blue plastic toy with a tiny grey screen. If we were children we would have gotten restless and whined. But we were adults so we just coped. In the next bay of seats, another flight delayed by weather also had passengers sitting for hours. I overheard a very creative mom and dad who made up a game for their kids - name two things that just don't go together.
The kids, one boy and two girls, kept trying to top each other with grossness. "Booger and Sandwich" yelled out the boy to the delight and disgust of his two sisters. "Harry Potter and Paris Hilton" called out his sisters who doubled over while their brother looked confused. They were having fun and the time was passing. I smiled because I knew what immediately came to mind for me.
Joe and I had stopped at 'the Tattered Cover' our favourite Denver bookstore on Saturday to pick up a couple new books and to have a tea in their cafe. Their "silver needles" white tea is a happiness drug and I have it every time I'm in Denver. Just once. As we had tea I grabbed a book on cooking that was on the shelf beside where we were sitting. I flipped through it and stopped stunned. I pointed to two words that do not belong in a cookbook of any sort any where in the world.
Poached and Testicle.
We boarded the plane, finally and backed away from the gate. On time. And sat. There was 'weather at the end of the runway' the pilot announced. The trick the airlines use is that pulling away from the gate is when the plane left. So you could sit for an hour an inch away from the terminal and it's still an on-time departure. It was warm on the airplane. The seats were cramped in a two and two configuration.
Comfortable and Airplane.
In the air I picked up a magazine a read a story about a child who suffered at the hands of her parents. Mother and father. They used her as a slave, viewed her as property, struck her 'as necessary. A few pages in I asked myself why I was reading this. Even the article seem to be exploiting the child. Her eyes looked out at me from the picture, the question 'why' formed at the back of her eyes. "I don't know" I telegraphed back to her.
Child and Abuse.
There really was weather. About an hour into the flight we began to bounce around a bit. I catastrophize. Why have a little worry when I can have a big one. Sure the bouncing was light. Sure I'd been through much much worse. I'd flown on older planes for longer distance through worse storms - but what matter all that, we're going down today! I thought back over my career and, as I always do, I remembered the closing of Pine Ridge. When all those men with disabilities came home.
Institutional and Care.
As we landed we waited 'until the aisle was clear' so that we could get off, get the wheelchair and get up the long ramp from the plane to the terminal. It took forever until the staff organized themselve to take three 'wheelchair passengers' from the gate to customs. The new Terminal One is, as far as I'm concerned, inaccessible. There are long, long hallways of carpetted flooring. If the floor was tiled I could push myself long distances, they had made moving sidewalks for 'walkees' but those of us in chairs had to fight against the flooring.
Wheelchair and Carpet.
Finally we had our luggage, our custom form and were making our way out into the terminal. Hours later than we had first planned. But we were there. Mike had been circling the airport for hours waiting to pick us up. He had been shoved from pillar to post by airport security and finally found a back street near the airport and just parked to wait for us to call. When we got out by the curb we called and he was there in minutes.
Joe and Mike worked quickly getting the trunk stuffed full of baggage, me stuffed in the front seat and the wheelchair stuffed in the back seat. On the way home we chatted about Marrissa and Ruby, about the work in Fort Collins, about the movies we wanted to see, about what we were going to eat, about missing Tim Horton's, and the time flew by.
My mood brightened and two words that go together well came to mind.
Happily and Home.