Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Photograph: “Bob (aka Caleb) The Easter Camel” via Transglobalist
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Walking South Beach. Walking on Sunshine.

Baby here we stand again
Where we’ve been so many times before
Even though you looked so sure
As I was watching you walking out my door
But you always walk back in like you did today….

~ Jackson Browne, Hear Come Those Tears Again


Yesterday morning. I’m standing at the western end of Lincoln Road, the Lincoln Road on Miami’s South Beach. It’s early morning, but already 80° F. Humidity is on. Fingers puffy, both feet are fuller in sneakers.

Small towners from the north, looking for adventure in Miami, found it in all the wrong places.  Weekend 1 included a car break-in after a sun drenched afternoon on South Beach.  Month 6 included a home invasion. Most would have said Enough, and bailed. But, no, this felt like home. And for 14 years it was Home.  Years later, like this week, we would return here with our family for a short annual retreat, birds migrating Home to rest.

Lincoln Road was the weekend destination for casual family dinners, soft serve ice cream, slow walks up and down the strip, and, of course, people watching.

But today’s Lincoln Road, was not our Lincoln Road.

I walk.  I’m out with Dog walkers, a handful of pigeons, yuppie Runners, and shopkeepers preparing to open.

Large money center banks flank both ends of Lincoln Road. Money Only Permitted Here. [Read more…]

Guess.What.Day.It.Is? Those that need extra time to board…


Notes:

  • Photograph: Dunmow Broadcast: Movie star camel skips Oscars to help easyJet launch new Egypt route from Stansted Airport
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Flying AA 1011. With Chop.

1 hour out from DFW (Dallas) on flight back to NY. 37,000 feet up.

Heavy chop. Heavy.

Seat belt alert pops up.

Cabin is quiet.

Pilot comes on the intercom: “Flight attendants, please take your seats.” Never a good sign.

I close the lid on my iPad. I note that others around me put down their gadgets.

Captain is back on the intercom: “Apologize folks. Bumpy ride here. I checked with air traffic control. Heavy turbulence in both directions, at all levels. We’re over Nashville. Expect this to clear in 8 minutes. Please take your seats.”

8 minutes. Not: We expect this to end soon. Or: We hope this ends soon. Or: We think it will end soon.

8 minutes. God, I Love technology.

I look up the aisle. Left wing drops and then right side counters to stabilize. Back, forth, up, down. Replay. Over and over. How does this Bird not blow apart in pieces? Why is your head going there? How is that line of thinking helpful at all?

Pilot takes the plane up. And accelerates. Plane groans as it grinds against the headwinds. Oh I agree Captain. Too rough here. Let’s get closer to God for help.

Gratitude surges, for living, and for life. Just get me home. I promise I’ll be better. At every thing. A bloody saint. I’ll be nice to Sawsan, and Dale and Kiki. Maybe even throw out a compliment or two and pretend like I mean it.

I grab the loose end of the seat belt and pull it snug around my belly. I’m short of breath. Could I be hyperventilating here? I need to lose 10 pounds. I clutch my iPad with both hands. Can’t possibly damage this device. Hitting another passenger does come to mind, secondary concern behind damage to the iPad.

We’re 10 minutes in. He said 8 minutes!

We’re 14 minutes in. Chop continues to be heavy. But he said 8 minutes! [Read more…]

Driving I-95 North. In March, with Summer Breeze.

Yesterday evening. 6:55 p.m. Still at the office.  I shut down my PC, grab the loose papers from my desk and toss them into my brief case. I throw on my coat and step into the hallway. It’s quiet, still. No phones ringing. No printers running. No overhead hum, the HVAC is shut down. Everyone has gone home. The building rests.

I walk to the garage. It’s been a Long week. Unexpected (and serious) issues flare up, soaking up the free oxygen. Yet, you like that don’t you? Good to be needed. Great to be needed. DK, what did you want to be when you grew up? A Firefighter, of course. Superman-DK running into burning buildings, his Cape flapping behind him, carrying out Babies. Like that, sort of, of the Suit Kind.

I’m in the car. Temperature read-out is 49° F. I’m on the tail end of rush hour. Traffic is flowing. Roads are dry. Spring, come, Now.

I slide the window down. The cool wind washes over my face, a light anesthetic, and the moment spins back passages from Sarah McColl’s “Joy Enough“, my new book in flight.

“I felt it first as a space, like a window thrown open and then a breeze through the bedroom.”

And then Sarah rises again:

“There was a breeze that day, and my hair was gathered into a ponytail, I could feel the air move at the nape of my neck.

And then Sarah one more time:

There were no cars on the road, and the hem of my skirt fluttered at my knees in the humid breeze.

And with this, the weight of the week lifts, the tightness in my shoulders and neck releases, and Bliss rises.

With one eye on the road and the other on my iPhone, I flick down my Favorites playlist, turn the volume up, and then one more extra turn, and hit play.  Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts.

See the curtains hangin’ in the window, in the evenin’ on a Friday night
A little light a-shinin’ through the window, lets me know everything is alright
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind


Notes: Other quotes by Sarah McColl in Joy Enough: A Memoir.”  Photo via Of Figs and Roses

Flying North N.E. AA1263. With Track Suit.

An introvert’s sanctuary. Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport. The world’s 4th busiest airport. Giant footprint. Take trains between terminals. Get lost among the crowds, the lines, the heavy foot traffic. Near zero probability of seeing anyone you know.

I pass through security. No random check. No single coin in back pocket triggering body check and palm swab for explosive residue.

I walk.

I pass a line that spills out into the concourse, and down along the wall. Chick-Fil-a. How good can this really be? Didn’t realize Chick-Fil-a served breakfast. Make a mental note. Must try that. But can’t risk it now. Middle-aged thing sprouted out of nowhere. Stomach, formerly cast iron, now leaky.

I look for an overhead sign pointing me to the Admiral’s Club.  10 gates down. Texas does it big here too. Large (very) facility, high ceilings, a refuge for business travelers. Quiet. Soft lighting. Spotless bathrooms. Cushy leather chairs.

I walk.

I look down at my black sneakers. When your work life has more than ample amounts of stress, you de-risk all other elements.

Like my attire. [Read more…]

Flying North N.E. AA1263. Add, yet another addiction.

 

 

It’s that time again. An updated inventory of Addictions.

  1. iPhone. Like Jenny Erpenbeck’s “Bone to bone, blood to blood, as if (we’re) bonded together.”
  2. Talenti Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato. Heaven in a cup. Sweet Jesus. 3-4 pints a week, minimum.
  3. iPad Pro. Speedy wifi in-flight. Enable online work in both directions.
  4. Sugar. Stonewall Kitchen Sour Cherry Jam. 2.5 heaping tablespoons stirred in with Chobani Fruit on the Bottom Greek Yogurt with Pineapple on the Bottom.
  5. Seat #24 E, Exit Row, AA Airbus A321.  To/fro LGA to DFW. Same seat (or take different flight)
  6. Socks: Ultra thin, over-the-calf knee high. Can’t have hot feet or exposed skin.
  7. Advil PM. Ingest 1/2 pill one hour before bed time.  Insomniacs sleep aid.
  8. Knee pillow. To sleep. Avoid bone to bone contact.

And so here we are.

Dallas, TX. Hotel. Wednesday evening.

I open the Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Earbuds charging case to find the right earbud missing. Major problem. [Read more…]

Flying Northeast #AA2716. With Birds.

We pulled away from the gate at DFW 30 minutes late, late Friday afternoon. Not bad. Could be worse.

Exit row, reclining seat. God Bless Shara (My Assistant). We’ve been together 6 years now. This seat, this trip, the car pick-up, managing trip expenses – here and there and there, always just right.

Jet engines on this late model Boeing throb, I’m sitting over the wings. We taxi out, make a slow turn, and then…

The engines shut down, and the Pilot comes on the intercom. No. No. No. Yes.

“Folks, I’m sorry. But there is flow control at LaGuardia. We’ve been advised that the wait could be up to 90 minutes. We need to wait on the runway in the event we get cleared sooner.”

Not a free seat open on this plane. A chorus of groans, a shifting in seats. We settle in. My arrival time, now potentially 10pm on Friday night. Shoulders slump, heaviness sets in.

I grab my smartphone and tap in “P-h-o-e-n-i-x:” (in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle. 

Let’s skip the funeral pyre part. But, the rest? Bring it on. To rise from the ashes. Live through another cycle. This trip that just won’t end.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in Phoenix at a firm wide conference. Thursday and Friday with our team in Dallas.

What did you remember? [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. Man on Wire.

“…In my own mind I’m a mirror. I see everything except myself. This way I can’t lose: even when broken, a polished surface reflects whatever looks in. – Rita Dove, from “Self-Portrait


Scene: I-95, between Exits 7 & 8 in Stamford, CT.  Morning commute.

Except for early morning hours, holidays, and snow storms, the scene is the same: traffic at a standstill for three exits.

I sit with hundreds of others in a sea of red tail lights.

There’s a flutter of wings, I shift my attention from Ahead to Up.  Birds on power lines, lines crossing six lanes of I-95. Never once noticed these lines on my commute. Hundreds of passings? Thousands?

Why, sit on this line, on this highway?

Why, all sit on the same line?

Why here, of all places on Earth?

There’s a quick beep-beep behind me, a large gap has opened up in front.

I glance at the driver in my rear view mirror, give him a wave, and in the split second on my return to I-95, I catch Me in the same mirror.

The red tail lights flicker, traffic is moving, and Me along with it.

Yes, why?


Notes: Post Title taken from Philippe Petit’s “Man on Wire

Walking Cross-Town. Just Magnificent.

Tuesday.
10 a.m., I’m heading for a morning meeting in Manhattan.
I exit Grand Central station onto Madison, and head down 47th.

Light mist turns to a sprinkle.
Then drizzle.
Then, Wow! Rain in sheets.

Sidewalks are filled with Suits, morning shift shop workers, and tourists, loitering. Umbrellas spring open, mushroom caps blossoming in a time lapse video.

Walker in middle of sidewalk, sheltered with a giant golf umbrella. He does not shift left or right. His umbrella clips me in the shoulder as I try to pass, tipping his umbrella into mine, rain soaks my pant leg.
Really?

Walkers, giggling, three a breast, each carrying an umbrella. I tuck into a store front to let them pass.
Seriously people?

Walker, approaches me directly ahead. Mid sized umbrella. I walk on right side (This is America!) He refuses to shift lanes to his right. I slide left to avoid him, and dodge oncoming foot traffic – glaring at him as he passes.
Hey Man from UK, Etiquette! Drive on the right side of the road!

Walker, dead ahead, 10 steps. Smartphone and umbrella in his left hand, cigarette in the other. I slide between him and the building on the right, when he lifts his cigarette, the embers catching my coat. I jam my umbrella into his to brush off the ash, and he’s jostled into another walker.  He shouts “Excuse me!” as I pass.  I glance back. Cigarette hanging from his mouth. Light build, short. A Ferret. But who’s judging?

I smile, shake my head, turn my back to Ferret and keep walking, my right hand scanning my coat searching for the burn hole.

I stand at the stop light and wait, lifting my face to the sky. The rain has let up. The Walk sign turns, I step off the curb onto the crosswalk. I don’t see the puddle pooling in front of the street drain. My foot sinks into the cool, filthy, rain water which fills my right shoe.

Damn it@!*$

I limp into the building.  The wet sole of my shoe squeals with each spongy step on the marble floor. The wet sock and foot slide back and forth inside the shoe.

I step into the elevator. Breathe DK. Breathe. Amazing. You’ve managed to work yourself up into a full lather in a 12-minute walk across town. You’re Elmear McBride’s Magnificent:

Magnificent, somehow. To give in. Wreck yourself so completely. The beauty of it.”


Photo: Metro.US

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