Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Written from an Airplane on September 11, 2007

It’s 11:15 p.m. EST on September 11, 2007, and I have spent this sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks criss-crossing the country in airplanes. Who says I don’t have a sense of adventure?

There was a school district in the northwestern part of Mississippi that needed training on the proper use of an online analytical database that my company has developed. I’m one of a precious few people willing and able to lead these trainings, so off I went. But I’m still lactating (sorry, for the squeamish among you), and would prefer not to be away from home for an overnighter. Consequently, I booked myself on this wacky round trip. I left my home at 4:00 a.m. to catch an outbound 6:00 a.m. flight. Nearly eighteen hours later, I’m still traveling. It’ll be about two and a half more hours ‘til I’m snuggled up in my bed at home. Christ, will that feel delicious.

Travel is invigorating. Well, right about now the vigor is starting to wear off, but that’s what my Starbucks venti Yukon Gold is for. Anyway, seeing new things, driving on new roads, trying on different lifestyles in the shape of rental cars and local eateries – it all gives my system a charge.

Here's a sampling:

I saw a cotton field today for the first time. Before my stint on Route 61 North, I’d only seen them in Gone With the Wind (and the only-slightly-less-well-known Places in the Heart). Anyway, antebellum romances are probably not the best representation of a textile crop that sustained and rent* a nation all at the same time.

I saw Dallas, Texas from the heavens, and it was a beautiful thing. Normally, all things Texan are somewhat off-putting. A shrinking violet like me is wary of bombast, and Texas is paradigmatic of bombast, right? But from up above, it was silent. And FLAT. The only thing that limited what I could see was my own gimpy pair of old lady eyes. In my native Maryland, the trees and hills and skyscrapers and dense population obscure anything that’s more than a few blocks away.

I experienced a Jackson, Mississippi traffic jam. It’s what we in the ‘burbs of DC call a yellow light.

There was more, but that's all I've got right now. MCV is sleepy, and while my synapses are firing off insights about the irony of my spending September 11th in four different states and airports, my fingers won’t cooperate anymore. Meh. Humankind’s loss.

*'rent' as in 'torn asunder,' not 'rent' as in 'a five-story walk-up in Brooklyn.'

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