Betty Duffy

(Amateur)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Travel Diary


On airplane to San Francisco. Left my computer at home, and I'm feeling terribly self-righteous about it because everywhere you look people are scrolling through their Ipods. What did we do before them? How did we pass the time? Looking at people? Being bored? Feeling bad? It's the grannies, the kids, the businessmen, the hipsters. No one is immune. Poor people. Poor enslaved people. You could be bored like me! 

At take off, everyone has to power down, and the noxious whiff of mortality descends on the passengers. A woman makes a clandestine sign of the Cross. People close their eyes. The man next to me, shifts in his seat and lets out an almost indiscernible fart, and then we all stick to our seats like in those Gravitron rides at the festival. There's a slight dip before we are aloft, and we look down at our town below. We could fall out of the sky. We could land in that swimming pool. There's the racetrack. It looks like a matchbox set, and that's when we know we've made it through take off. I take out my book.

This should have been a sign to the guy next to me that I don't want to talk, but he's on his way home from a conference, at which he had a good time, he says. "Three days in Indianapolis and I never left the hotel." Sounds great. What do I do? Uh, nothing. "I'm just heading to California to see my husband for the weekend. He's working there." A good gig, I've got. Yes, it is. A bit of a booty call, you might say. A thousand miles on frequent flier points, free hotels, expense accounts--I don't mind it at all when I'm doing the traveling. When he's gone, and I'm home, though--it's hell. There are a few kids at home with my mother. How many? I'm going to lie and say three. Yes, and one more on the way, which is why your farts are really unbearable. Fortunately, there's medication now for these things or I'd have barfed on you. But yes, I'm quite sure to have my hands full.

He shifts in his seat, he scratches his chin. Good Lord! He's done it again! Never try to get away with a fart in an enclosed space. It does not work.

Layover in Detroit, which smells relatively good, like Chinese food and diesel exhaust. 

Detroit. Detroit. I was here last in college--at this very airport, where you have to walk through an underground tunnel with freaky lights and twilight zone music to get from one terminal to the next. "Why do they have to make it so weird?" I ask the lady being shunted along beside me on a parallel people mover. "They want us to be entertained, I suppose." But it's weird--not entertaining. We are standing on a moving floor while lights flash and weird music plays. Why, Detroit? Why is your airport so weird?

Anyway, I've been weird before too. In college, I flew here and arrived in the middle of the night to meet my future sister in law in order to carpool to a retreat in Rhode Island. She was was driving a bunch of girls out, a back seat full of Albanian teenagers sleeping on each other's shoulders, and she needed another driver. I didn't quite realize I was also being recruited to Regnum Christi--but I was such an easy kill. Fly by the seat of my pants? In the middle of the night? From Detroit? Ok. 

I was into androgynous dressing in those days, and I remember wearing a green velvet blazer, with button fly levis and converse sneakers--hair lobbed off at the chin, smoking cigarettes, sitting on my bag outside the the airport, waiting for her to pick me up. We passed the night drinking mug a lugs, eating instant oatmeal, and listening to a song over and over again that went: "Guilt stricken, sobbing, with our heads on the floor…" I'd call it a bonding experience except that later she would report to my husband (to be): "I don't know if she's your type. She might be a little bit…hard."
See here:
(One of these lads was me.)

I've softened since then, maybe.



21 comments:

Karyn said...

One more on the way - congratulations!

Jamie said...

Hey, is that an announcement? Hope the nausea ebbs soon.

BettyDuffy said...

I guess it is. We'll see how it all goes this time. There is a little heart beating in there. I keep telling myself that I should feel good about feeling terrible. It just doesn't provide much in the way of writing material.

Rachel said...

Congrats Betty!

Also, like you I find myself kinda downplaying the number of kids I have. I used to enjoy shocking people with the "'five boys.' 'FIVE BOYS YOU SAY?'" but it's just a conversation speed bump I've started to just say "we have a bunch of boys..."

BettyDuffy said...

Thanks! Yeah, it always ends up taking the conversation in places I don't want to go with strangers.

Lizzie said...

Such lovely news. And a great post too. What is it with farting in public places?! Congratulations - I'll be praying for you Betty.

Peter and Nancy said...

I like your birth announcement . . . you've sandwiched it into real life, the way any child after the second is anyway. :o) I've been stuck in Detroit against my will, and you're right: that's one weird airport.
Nancy

Dorian Speed said...

YOU WERE ONLY FRESHMEN.

(I realize the song was not the point of the post.)

ellie said...

Oh I am so happy for you! Exciting news! Praying all goes well this time. (sorry about the erghy seatmate. ick)

BettyDuffy said...

Dorian--I don't think I had a real point--but you're right! It's the freshmen song.

owen swain said...

I continue to learn so much from you - sometimes more than I want but still and, congrats and God bless.

Kelly @ in the sheepfold said...

Congrats! Grace and peace as you endure those yucky early weeks.

JMB said...

Congratulations! Enjoy Cali!

Lauren Gulde said...

Congratulations on the baby news! Lovely little one... And love that song too. The photo is so Breakfast Club. I love it. We all really WERE as cool as we thought, right!?

BettyDuffy said...

Lauren, Oh yes were were! (at least for that minute).

nicole said...

Congratulations! And I can't imagine being on a plane with a farter while also pregnant. Majorly unfair. I hope CA was a retreat of sorts for you and the husband.

Jenny said...

Congrats on the little one!

The freshman song...When it was on the radio, I heard it described on one of those Top 40 shows by Casey Kasem. He said it was about the complications of a sexual relationship...ACK! I needed ear bleach! Never wanted to hear those words come out of his mouth.

Erin said...

Ooh somehow I missed this post. CONGRATS! And I love your story-telling technique. Captivating.

The Sojourner said...

The psychedelic tunnel! I remember that! I went through Detroit...two years ago, I think it was, going from Ohio to North Carolina to visit a friend. It was my first time flying without my parents and that tunnel felt like a deliberate insult. Making your connection is confusing enough already.

Also, I'll hop on the congratulations bandwagon. Congratulations!

Alishia said...

Laughing and rejoicing all in one post: farts and babies. Can the two really be separated? Great news! You'll survive the nausea and get to where I currently am--30ish something weeks--and have to continue to remind yourself that you'd rather be large and uncomfortable instead of nauseated. At least that's what I have to do.

Krizia said...

This is absolutely hysterical. I've thought so many of these thoughts before, during and after takeoff. I'm guilty for farting in planes. One just gets so gassy up there. Congratulations and I hope you enjoyed your vacation and seeing your husband :)