Friday, March 13, 2015 5:45 pm, Nashville International Airport, Nashville, TN:
I stepped into the mouth of the large metal seagull patiently waiting to take its waddling brood safely from Nashville to another pond named Dallas. As I was waited for those ahead of me to find their place the smell of Springtime and diesel brushed past my face in a lost breeze. I found myself staring into the distance and thinking about the consequences of losing my laminated drivers license a week prior somewhere in Love Field Airport in Dallas. I had telephoned Lost and Found only to find that Lost and Found hadn’t found what I lost. I had been planning on renting a car to drive home, but, now that was impossible without a physical drivers license. So many questions fought for answers in my tired brain. “Will the newly acquired temporary drivers license I printed at Kinko’s/FedEx OR the cell phone photo of my old drivers license coupled with my passport be adequate enough to rent a car? If that doesn’t work, does Greyhound have a late route home? What about a last minute late flight? How steep would that fare cost? Even if I do get home, how will I get to massage school this weekend?”
Those questions became a swirling color of grey in front of me and I felt my eyes begin to swirl. My eyeballs became light enough and strong enough to pull me towards an anomaly of haze. I lost peripheral vision. Gently interrupting my trance was a blue twig moving up and down repeatedly at a forty-five degree angle like a needle on a car gas gauge. It was persistent in its action and demanding my attention.
I came to and noticed the waving arm of the stewardess attempting to wake me out of my affliction. A firm pluck of an imaginary tendon between my heart and my stomach shocked my brain into movement, and, like the other passengers, I waddled down the aisle looking for an acceptable location compatible with my extraordinary standards.
When flying, I always have a ‘plan A’ when finding a seat. I have discovered that the best seat on the plane, an ‘exit row seat’, is usually occupied by the flight attendant as they welcome passengers aboard. And, no one EVER asks them to move and to give up the prime real estate…except me. So, I proceeded toward my friendly exit row stewardess while managing the carry-on and backpack so they didn’t intrude into anyone’s personal space. I arrived at my destination and stopped next to the warm and disarming flight attendant. I asked her to move (please.)
I also have a ‘plan B’ for finding an acceptable seat. When all preferred seats are taken sit beside the hottest guy (or girl, if you prefer girls) you spot on the plane. Plan ‘c’ is to sit near the back of the plane. If you can’t sit in an exit row, or next to a hottie, you can relax into the seat knowing that it’s usually the safest place to be during a plane crash.
As I packed my belongings into the plastic overhead bins, I offered up gratitude for the exit row seat and for being A-List on Southwest. If you are A-List you always get an ‘A Group’ boarding pass which means ‘your’ group boards before the commoners and other beasts in tow. And, if you book a flight at the last minute, and, you don’t have a saved spot close to the front of the line, you always get to board with the ‘A’ group as the last ‘A’ group member allowing better chances at a more preferable seat.
As I stretched my legs and absorbed the warmth of the sun through the window, I was feeling really stressed about my trip home and reached for my constant companion. No. Not that one. I pulled out of my pocket what I equate to a fire extinguisher. Again, NOT that one. I reached for an essential oil that has tranquilized my interaction with this planet and its humans – an essential oil that is a secret weapon that neutralizes my PTSD. It also reduces my tension, anger, stress, road rage, mild depression, etc. I truly hope the FDA doesn’t discover it. Or, it will be removed because it (insert reason here.) I dripped four drops onto my wrist and with my other wrist made circular motions absorbing the oil into both. I know, I know…rubbing in a product and applying it like ‘ladies’ do is not very manly. But, I was told that’s the fastest train to my brain for the oil’s effects to engage quickly. It works so good for me I don’t care WHO sees me applying it.
I pulled out some study charts to introduce myself to anatomy and physiology and to prepare for the big exam in kinesiology (the study of movement as it relates to muscles, bones, tendons, etc) . I began to memorize muscle names, muscle origin sites, muscle attachment sites, etc, ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz (snore) etc. I managed at least six pages of body parts before the plane raced down the runway. Before the wheels left the ground, I felt myself my brain shifting into third gear. “Fuck. This oil works fast” I said to myself. I sank into my seat and fell asleep.
The plane landed and I quickly exited the ramp feeling completely out of sorts. I’ve never been caught short like this – no way home and not enough resources to get home. I knew I needed to form a plan and fucking quickly. But, first I needed to pee.
I found a place to set up office (laptop, cell phones, etc) in the glam’d up food court in the airport. I swear, if you’re ever stuck in an airport, you want it to be Dallas Love Field.
I outlined my options: Rent A Car if they will accept my available documentation; take a bus; fly home; phone a friend; spend the night and fly out tomorrow – but how would that be different than flying out now?; have a depressive meltdown; or walk to the nearest highway ledge and fall (more on this option later.)
It had been a small collection of travel snafu’s over the last month – mostly due to the weather – but still having a very large Sasquatch footprint on my emotional self not to mention my bank account. Throughout my cursed travels I found myself constantly asking the Almighty “WTF? I’m doing everything I’m supposed to right?!?!”
I lowered my face into my palms and closed my eyes . “Am I where you want me to be?” I asked quietly for the seventh time that day. My emotions were running mightily close to the surface. I knew I couldn’t manage any more travel stress. A few days ago, I missed my flight leaving from Dallas to Nashville because of the heavy rain and my overly cautious driving of forty-five mph through the tornadic-like apocalypse. Normally, it’s a three and a half hour drive. It took me almost six. I missed my flight by ten minutes.
I felt my soul begin to react to all of this recent travel drama combined with overall fatigue. I lowered my head into both of my palms to cover my face from those near me. I felt my gut heave upwards, my eyes began to water, and my back began to expand and contract rapidly. I was heaving emotion out of my body. I was tired from driving, tired from school, tired from not seeing my boyfriend, tired from being away from the beach for so long, tired of worrying about paperwork, tired of missing my friends, tired of worrying about pets and feeling like a bad dad to them, blah blah blah.
It was a short lived yet subtle moment of emotional release. A minute later, a ‘Horton Hears a Who’ cloud floated above my bowed head and I heard a voice say to me, “you know…if you get out of this, it will be quite remarkable. I wonder how you will get home and off to school?”
I wiped eyes on napkins pulled from the inside of my backpack. I took a deep breath and I as I exhaled I noticed a Dunkin Donuts in the distance. “Well, if there ever was a time for a donut and a coffee, it’s now.”
After my brain was fed with moderate doses of sugar and caffeine, ideas began to flow. I discovered that I had enough travel points in my Southwest Airlines travel account to buy a LAST MINUTE one way ticket home (about twelve thousand points). My best friends picked me up at the airport and took me home. My former partner loaned me his car for the entire weekend since my car was parked in the Nashville airport. All of my travel snafu’s solved.
I boarded the flight home with confidence and with a restful disposition. I was incredibly grateful for the ones who watched over me that day and for the encouragement they whispered into my ear that afternoon.
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