I’ve spent the last seven months on the road.
Airports with their uncomfortable chairs upholstered in sickly grey naugahyde and attached in awkward twos–too small for sleeping, too close for comfort. Coach seats, three by three. Cheerful rainbows and sturdy leather; the persistent smell of high altitude farts and motion sickness; chemical toilets and the overcooked food served in first class.
I’ve been on the road for more than half the year.
Traveling as my marriage faltered and failed; breezing through cities and states and countries I didn’t expect to visit; running around life in New York carried on without me.
Life goes on.
I guess this is the new view from the Middle Seat. Crammed, cramped and oddly refreshing.
In the last 90 days, I have climbed Half Dome; run the New York City Marathon; found a new place on the Upper East Side; and taken the tentative steps towards a life as a single woman. Something I’ve never been in my adult life.
I flew to San Francisco on Monday, a suitcase full of candy, sherry, and suits. Unsurprisingly, the travel agent had put me in a middle seat, and had managed to screw up my rental car reservation.
This was me at the Thrifty counter on Monday: Pissed.
The behemoth at the counter grunted out some instructions and took my Amex. That was it. Nothing further. I had no idea what to do or where to go. I made it out to the car, only to find I had to go to another counter for the key. What kind of rental car company does that? Creates a veritable labyrinth of queues? Just hand me a card and let me unlock the key from a lockbox or something. Don’t make me go through this Skinnerian exercise just to get into my luxurious Ford Fusion that smells slightly of smoke and strangely of bacon.
I drove down the coast. Love songs on Sirius playing.
I love love songs. I love love.
Despite all of this…despite all of the travel…despite the red eyes and the coach seats and the near misses…despite the toll it takes on my personal relationships and whether it was the straw that broke the camel’s back in my marriage, and the pain and the grief associated therewith…I still believe in lids for pots; in matches and partners and pairs; and in true love.
So this is the view from the middle seat.