Leaving on a Jet Plane

August 23, 2009

Last Tuesday I left for a week-long vacation in Seattle. The first “vacation” I’d taken in almost 3 years to the day. While out west, I hiked, ate, drank, was pushed to my mental safety limit by my brother, drank, practiced tour jetes and arabesques on a beach, drove around Seattle in the back of a truck with little plans, walked from bar to bar, got hit on by a 23-year-old (cougar….meow), drank, etc. Did I mention that we spent a bit of time going from one brew pub to another? Yes, we consumed relatively responsibly, but that sort of behavior will certainly cloud up your mind. Which was exactly what I needed. I needed to get cloudy for a few days & then come back to reality. So I physically escaped. No telephone. No internet. No iPod. No computer. Nothing. I was just as stuck as before because the thoughts that buzzed through my bird-brain remained. No going away. You know, the old bits of advice people give you when you want to move all the time…..wherever you go, you move with you.

So for about 3 days the all-too-familiar thoughts stayed. How the hell am I supposed to balance work and school with work being so stressful and hectic? Clearly, I feel like I’m not being supported there. No one listens when I’m crying out for help. All they do is tell me what a good manager I’ll make once I get an MPH but they aren’t listening that management sounds awful to me. I like research. What about dance? Which classes can I fit in? I can’t even think about dating. Dating? Ugh, that one idiot called again & asked me to call when I get back. I don’t want to be an asshole but really am just not that into this guy. Or any right now, for that matter. After a whole lot of beer and even more spending time with the 2 people in the world who know me best, my brother & closest friend, I let go of it a little. And was able to escape, for a few moments at a time, the lists made in my mind or what I need to do when I get back to work and how I could juggle the 4th interview with a hopeful new job without letting on that I’ve been looking. The only way was to just stop.

Stop the thoughts. Stop the inner-monologue. Some people use substances. Some people use god. Some people use exercise. Some people pick up and move. And I have certainly used every one of these throughout these 3 short decades. And still do, but then remember that doesn’t really hold water for very long and that the only tactic that truly works for me is to let go. Just let go of it all.

Before boarding the 2nd most obnoxious plane I’ve experienced (the first one was last year after a Louisiana trip…kids vomiting and a couple making out next to me while hungover & struggling with a messy breakup the weekend before), I stood at the gate, finally stopped it for longer than a moment & started crying. Uncontrollable, big, alligator tears streamed down my face as I choked and handed my boarding pass to the flight attendant. She smiled and said good morning.

As I write this, a baby screams in front of me, some sort of Miley Cyrus or Jonas brother song blares out of my preteen seat-neighbor’s earphones, and a toddler kicks the back of my chair yelling “apple juice, I want apple juice”. Back to Boston from Seattle I go. I’d booked the trip months ago, as the possibility of a mental breakdown grew with each day. Work has been insanely stressful. Going, going, going in a high-pressure job will really wear on you. In just a couple weeks I officially begin graduate school, while I work full time. And I just needed to escape. You know, run away, get going, get gone.

Alas, back to reality. But going back with the reminder that although planes (not this one), friends, bottles, runs, one-night stands (come on, we’ve all done that), and climbing mountains help, it remains within myself that really has control over that.

P.S. to Parents: Children are wonderful. I love them & know that your special little guy or gal sure should meet grandma & grandpa but please consider a light sedative for the child’s sake. These kids are clearly miserable.

10 Responses to “Leaving on a Jet Plane”

  1. lee lee says:

    if only you could recreate the atmosphere of screaming babies, wailing miley cyrus songs & kicking toddlers somewhere other than a plane, but tell yourself that you’re “escaping.” like a mind trick… would be a much cheaper “running away…” lol

  2. emmyem7 says:

    Actually, there’s something similar right now. It’s work. Not actual babies but adult babies.

  3. David says:

    I can’t stand whiny kids on a plane or in a restaurant. It is really the parents fault that the kids are annoying, not the kids as they didn’t make themselves go there. Sure fire way to ruin a nice dinner or flight.

  4. lee lee says:

    david (and emily, to a degree): i truly used to feel the same way as you. and, then, i realized something. parents have absolutely no control over what their children do. honestly!!! also, we sometimes need to leave the house, despite the hazards caused to others.

  5. emmyem7 says:

    Lee lee, I feel there’s a balance between the two. The little boy behind me who was screaming bloody murder because of his ears, well, there isn’t much you can do about that. But then the people in front of me who were COOING when their kid screamed & so forth, well, that’s just reinforcing negative behavior. As for immediately in those situations, no, you don’t have much control. However, as a parent, you can (& from as much as I know you….you do) teach the kid manners. There are a whole lot of a**holes out there & I’d bet that their parents are a**holes.

  6. Terri P says:

    Gotta side with the apple from the tree phenomenon.
    I catered a BBQ this past Saturday at a home with a large pool. There were at least 12 children present. One little boy around 5 or 6 had a full blown tantrum IN the kitchen (where I was prepping the food) because his father packed the wrong swim trunks. The father let him continue this behavior for close to 1/2 an hour while desperately apologizing to him. The child was screaming that he was stupid and he would never forgive the Dad.
    Now if that were my child I would have packed up his items and gone home. If I ever behaved like that as a child which I would have never dreamed of doing-my Father would…well it just never would or did happen. At some point the responsibility must be taken by a parent. To reinforce this behavior is not only absurd but shameful. Needless to say I had migraine for the remainder of the evening. Then once again witnessed that little bastard screaming at his father demanding to know where the car was parked. Someone should have back-handed both of them. It was an excruciating experience for all of the guests-and I don’t even feel bad for the father.

  7. Nancy says:

    It has been done

  8. David says:

    Terry, I agree, the PC’ing of our society has become the coddling and spoiling of it’s children. When 10 year olds have cell phones and Ipods and the parents justify it as necessary it has gotten ludicrous. I was only ever hit once as a child (by a parent, I have 6 older brothers and sisters) but I always knew it could happen and it kept my ass in line. That dad was a spineless tool and the kid will become a boorish asshole.

  9. lee lee says:

    i can’t say much for the BBQ, because A) the last BBQ i went to was when i was pregnant and B) henri is extremely well-behaved, so i can’t picture this happening even if we did leave the house. BUT, and i mean BUT X 3… even kids who never scream, scream on planes (mine included) and–in case you didn’t notice–there’s nowhere for us to go. there’s a quirky philosophy that “cooing” or any other sort of soothing, gentle, quiet non-scream like reaction to a child screaming *may* just make the child calm down. again, i’m not defending bad parenting. but i AM defending somewhat questionable parenting–when said parenting is being done on a plane. so, bring your noice-canceling head phones or start an adults-only airline. those are your options…!

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