Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Day 1: The Trip to California

Yesterday's gale dropped a fir tree smack in the middle of my raspberry patch. Now the air is very still, and there's a silver glitter to the sky. The Harmony temperature is forecast to rise precipitously this week, maybe into the sixties. All the crocuses will open their eyes, but I won't be here to watch them.

In my backpack are Trollope's Ralph the Heir, Fowles's The Magus, a collection of crossword puzzles, and a new purple notebook. I haven't chosen my book of travel poetry yet. I like poetry to be last-minute. 

Already I feel lonely, like dandelion fluff wafting over a meadow of dandelions. Here we all are, all by ourselves.

Tom tells me I should make sure to go do something fun in Los Angeles. It seems like a good idea, in theory. The question is, What counts as fun? 

Probably I should go choose that poetry book now. I'm tempted to pick something crabbed and difficult, like Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen, except that the binding is a wreck and all the pages are falling out. Still, I like the idea of reading The Faerie Queen in an airport. Once I copied out a lot of Paradise Lost in an airport, and that worked out well.
If I were practical, though, I would just choose something thin and modern. And maybe I ought to be practical. The hardcover copy of The Magus that I've already packed is ridiculously fat and heavy, and it smells like basement. Ralph the Heir is a Dover Thrift Edition that's seen better days. Adding the Flying Pages of Spenser is just asking for trouble.

I'll keep you posted. I'll have a lot of time to kill today. Also you should be glad I'm talking about books. It could be worse: I almost started talking about shoes.

* * *

Bangor "International" Airport resembles an old Walmart building that Walmart moved out of because it was too small. Nonetheless, it houses at least a dozen balding men in Homeland Security vests. Some of them are playing with the bomb-sniffing dog.

The glowering woman who checks my ID is convinced that I am up to no good. However, the guy who makes me take my boots off is jolly. Is this a good cop/bad cop thing?

Everyone waiting at the gate is meek and studious. It is like we are waiting for someone to pass out the SAT test forms. Meanwhile, on the TV around the corner, an anchorwoman discusses the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

I am surprised I haven't met any acquaintances here yet. Going to this airport can resemble going to the grocery store.

Talk to you again when I get to Philadelphia.

P.S. My flight is delayed. My flight is oversold. Everyone wants to ride a teeny-tiny plane to Philly.

* * *

Okay, the Philadelphia airport. What can I say about it?

First, the American Airlines terminal is very, very blue. Second, none of the people waiting for the flight to LA seem to have gotten dressed this morning with southern California on their minds. Third, striding around a giant airport in pale pink pointy-toed shoes with stiletto heels: why? and ow. [See, I did manage to talk about shoes.] Fourth, I chose the poetry of George Herbert in a sweet little 1960-era Oxford U. hardback with original spellings. Fifth, is the lady next to me a nun or just someone who wears a lot of navy blue broadcloth and sensible black shoes? [More shoes.] Six, I am glad I am not still the person who changes diapers in public places. Seven, some of these people sitting around me are probably poets, but they all look like fluorescently lit Americans. Eight, I myself am disguised as a fluorescently lit American. Nine, there's nothing like a happy toddler. Ten, there's nothing like a miserable toddler. Eleven, overheard conversation between the nun[?] and her friend: "The science fiction was surprisingly outrageous."


Carlene said...

When I have to travel, it seems I pack 3-5 pairs of shoes--all black. Why, I do not know. I like the juxtaposition of Faerie Queene and airport; there's some interesting energy that could be released into the world if you do that. At the moment, I am watching the new MacBeth: dark, twisted, painful, wind-swept, and emotionally both charged and desolate. It's a little bit of a departure from the text, but a barren and visually beautiful version that carries the viewer into the pit of ambition and distress that is MacBeth's mind.

Safe travels!

David (n of 49) said...

"I almost started talking about shoes":

"For this relief, much thanks." :)

Lucy Grace said...

Going to Venice or Santa monica by public transportation is fun. In Santa Monica you can ride the ferris wheel or go to a used Mission furniture store where everything is soon expensive and beautiful. In Venice you can think about the days when it was muscle beach for gay men.

Ruth said...

I can relate to "The question is, What counts as fun?" I often have that feeling that I ought to be doing sometthing fun, but then cannot think what that might possibly be. And so, I do all the mundane activities and become rather snarky about a missed life.