The Long Journey Home

31 Jul

empire state buildingOkay, so it’s been almost three weeks since I arrived at JFK, bleary-eyed and loaded down with suitcases, but I thought I’d recap the most salient moments of the journey anyway.

It was a very emotional goodbye with the fam in Long Beach, disguised or undercut by my total inability to “surrender to the moment.”  I’d been packing, sorting, schlepping, and repacking for so many days that I was still in “let’s do this” mode when we arrived at the airport.  If you know me at all, you know that one of my favorite sayings is, “there’s no crying in baseball,” which I take as a mantra for life.  Of course I was sad, upset to see my mom so upset, and terrified of what I’d gotten myself into.  But was I going to show this, in any way, to the outside world?  Hells no.

You should understand that, while my family is extremely physically affectionate, we are verbally challenged in the feelings department.  Love is dispensed in bone-crushing hugs, noogies (from my dad), an overabundance of food and lots of rambunctious horseplay.  So there I was, barking orders at my older sister, the Drill Sargeant, about how to station my overloaded bags near the head of the check-in line without getting yelled at by airport security, briskly ignoring the fact that my mom was steadily getting more and more red-faced and red-eyed.  Several fierce hugs and promises to “call as soon as you land” later and I was working my way through check-in, where, thankfully, each of my checked bags weighed in just under the 50 lb. limit – that’s called effective packing, baby!

While waiting at the gate, I made my biggest mistake of the entire moving saga – maligning (entirely in my head, mind you) the parenting skills of a nearby couple, as their young son attempted to destroy his surroundings.  I know, we’ve all seen poorly behaved children in public and cringed and stared, but this kid took the proverbial cake.

He was more like an undisciplined, overstrong puppy, who his parents basically tried to corral within the four or five seat radius they’d created with their bodies and their bags.  He pushed and shoved and stomped and tore and smacked and lunged, in symphony with his parents’ nearly constant “stop that”s and “quit it”s and “no, I told you, no”s.  I thought, good lord, I feel sorry for the poor bastard who has to sit next to these jerks.

I know.  I KNOW.  I jinxed myself.  Because who do you suppose was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME when I boarded the flight?  None other than the Monster Child himself.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a good flight when the MC immediately started to pull the flight materials out of the pocket in front of him and fling them to the ground, along with, later, his earphones (repeatedly hucked at me – thank god they were the lightweight crap the airlines give out), his toys, and, I am not kidding, a heavy cardboard early reader book, which flew from his hand, up into the air, over the seats in front of us and landed with a thud, narrowly avoided hitting any of my fellow passengers.  It was a freakin’ miracle.  I kept waiting for the flight attendent to come over and say that they’d have to put the child in restraints.  Unfortunately it was not to be.

After a very tense hour and a half (this was a red-eye, mind you), the MC finally fell asleep, wrapped around his mother.  He was not a small child, probably about the size of my five year old niece (I hoped he was much younger and just ‘big for his age,’ which would somewhat explain his total lack of manners), and I could not believe that the mother was at all comfortable with this giant baby in her arms.

The only thing that made the flight bearable was knowing that only a fraction of my life span would be spent with the MC, as opposed to the child’s poor family, especially his mother.  Imagine – being totally unable to govern your own child.  It made me wince in horror.  And made me appreciate all the lovely children I know.  Thank god whatever private beatings their parents are inflicting are working.

True to his word, Cityboy met me at JFK at the ripe old time of 5am.  I’m pretty sure it was the earliest he’d been up in a long, long time.  Actually I’d be willing to bet my precious few belongings on that fact.  I think there’s even some footage of the blessed arrival, courtesy of Cityboy’s documentarian leanings, which I’ll have to procure for you later.

Nothing is better than having someone to tell your kooky stories to, and I immediately began to relate my harrowing airline adventure.  Even though I’m sure he was delirious with not enough sleep, Cityboy listened.  And in the end, that’s why I came East, to my new Home.

Rock on, people.



One Response to “The Long Journey Home”

  1. T.J. July 31, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    As I read this, I was imagining being part of a group, surrounding a campfire, whilst you related this story with an upturned flashlight in hand.

    Always a good time! Hope everything is going well!

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