The Arizona sky--rippled clouds and warm, dry air. I tasted the smell of leather, hot dogs, beer and Old Spice.
The eclectic airport culture confounds me. My brother loves watching airport patrons because their walk, attitude, attire, hairdo, size, weight, and pace define every angle of their character, nature and personality. Imagine how differently you and I handle stress? How might four or five of us deal with layovers or hunger? Some of us need to wear suits on the plane and some of us don't need to wear tight, butt-hugging pants to the airport.
I and my brother flew to Phoenix for a couple days of sun and baseball.
One often wonders about strangers that sit next to you on any trip-leg. Some say "hello," and some are volcanoes, and some--church mice. They're students and adults and professional hackers. Some are bums and athletes. Some are tattooed wizards.
They all disappear. The earth eventually spins them right out of my sight-line. They've all got places to go without me. I wonder--airports must be black holes. I've never received a number or an address for any new friend beside me in a row that's inevitably and relatively close to the wing. No airline company can seem to sit me anywhere but on the bloody wing. I know my row-mates by first name some of the time; And, in every case, they eventually become not much more than like an semi-entertaining film we saw one day back when--remember faces, a funny quip, a few lines, a bit of the plot, that's it.
My row eleven seat-mate inside the Airbus 320 farted in my general direction. The two-pack-a-day woman filled the middle seat, her husband took the window seat--I would be closest to the beverage cart which meant I got my tomato juice last. With no smog-filter in her throat, time and million cigarettes changed her voice to one that sounded quite a lot like her husband's. She laughed and if my eyes were closed I'd wonder if she were grating radishes. The late-forty-something year-old woman entered the aircraft phone-texting and she continued texting until about five minutes after captain Levitz told us to turn our electronic devices off. She then shifted her butt outward, leaned toward her husband, wrapped her arms around his arm, layed her head on his shoulder, and farted.
The layover at Denver airport offered a chance meeting with one family from Le Mars, IA, a mere hop and a jump from my town, Des Moines, IA. More importantly, I went to school not thirty minutes from Le Mars, grew up in close-by Sioux Falls, SD, and most importantly enjoyed Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream in Le Mars Iowa. The Mom of the family grew up in Southern California near where I was born, the son loved baseball and wrestling, the girl loved Brittany Spears and the youngest son loved fishing. The older son, a high-school wrestler had recently returned home from wrestling in Des Moines' Wells Fargo Arena, the largest venue he'd ever wrestled in.
Phoenix to Denver--my favorite row-mate was a young lady who, during the worst air-turbulence I've ever experienced (besides the afore mentioned fart), compulsively and repeatedly uttered, "This is not my favorite, this is so not my favorite." My brother didn't help her much when he mentioned that if we crash it'd be over very quickly. Me, my mouth shuts down, but my the voices in my head grow exponentially louder. My brother talks more and faster than the airplane could fly, but I think the voices in his head interrupt the "make sense" portion of his brain. So between what was "not her favorite", my quiet head-noise, and Rob's noisy blather, the flight kept us entertained in a demented sort of way.
The flight to Phoenix proved uneventful. My brother and I had a row all to ourselves and thus my inflight entertainment became my brother's stories and the pilot-tower chatter on channel 9.
Our adventure began Sunday morning when my wife and I left Des Moines early so we'd make church services at my sisters' and their family's church. We had a good afternoon and decided between all of us that we'd eat at this diner near Eppley Airfield where I'd fly from that evening. The older sister has two foster children. The law doesn't allow them to leave the state with the children. The Iowa border is only a few minutes away from Omaha. One might even cross the border a couple times on the way to Eppley. We fore-went one restaurant because it was in Iowa. Everyone believed that the diner we chose was well within Nebraska limits. Turned out, after a series of border crossings along the way, that the diner sat neatly about 50 feet into Iowa. Whoops. So, an hour before I would pass airport security, I helped my family break the law.
All that was icing on the cake and the cherry on top. The cake--I and my brother enjoyed unbelievably beautiful Phoenix weather at stadiums filled by baseball fans from all over the world. We and they watched my favorite baseball team play my favorite sport. I love the smell of fresh grass, beer, Dodger Dogs, brand-new baseball caps, and sun-block lotion. If I were a persistent smeller, I might even catch a whiff of chaw leaving the lips of my favorite players. MMM-MMM. Wait a sec...never mind, that's pretty gross.
Oh, I have a question, why does one wear high-heels to a Phoenix area Spring Training baseball game? Why wear high heels to any baseball game? The stripper convention is in Vegas and the Hoity Toity convention is in...well I don't know, but it's not at the BASEBALL STADIUM! Tenny's, shorts and T-Shirts please. I might just step on your toes diving after an errant foul ball.
I thoroughly enjoyed my nephew and nieces, the airport culture, and I had some of my best days with my brother. So, besides a three-hundred dollar meteor sized rock slamming into our windshield like a hostile rock-alien, the trip rocked (no pun intended).
Two of my favorite places--the airport and the baseball stadium converged into one sincerely personalized experience. The world is my oyster; and a healthy, meaty part of the oyster exists at the airport and the field.
The eclectic airport culture, and high-heels at baseball games confounds me.
But somewhere deep in my eyes, I never lost sight of her. I'm glad to be home.