Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tomorrow I'm leaving with Lula and Malko to France to visit my parents for a few weeks. Since Joedy's work prevented him from leaving on a weekday, he'll be flying this weekend, which means he gets the delightful job of cleaning up the outright filth and debris blanketing the house, the result of this afternoon's packing extravaganza.

Packing is a pain in the butt, in my opinion, but I miraculously got a head start on it a few days ago and even kept a tally of every item that went into the suitcase. I like keeping lists--it makes me feel on top of things--and even if my writing is unintelligible and all the hatch marks blend into one another, making it unclear whether we're bringing 46 pairs of underwear for Lula or 6 onesies for me, at least I've made an attempt at being methodical and organized and I can remember that two days from now, when the contents of the suitcase are a big tangled jumble of clean/dirty diapers, t-shirts, camera batteries, socks, and vintage ceramic salt and pepper shakers.

Given that the last time I flew to France alone with a child (three and half years ago, with Lula) I almost had a nervous breakdown at the end of the trip, and spent the entire vacation battling tears in large part because of that, you'd think I'd be stressed now, but weirdly I feel fine. We're flying on Air Tahiti, and it's a direct flight, and although Malko will technically be on my lap we have a bassinet reserved for him, as well as some very prime airplane real estate--the bulkhead seats. Of course, sitting in that spot means the movie will be playing right above our foreheads, but I'll take that over two square inches of legroom any day.

Since getting the tickets I've been having perhaps slightly ridiculous fantasies about what flying on Air Tahiti will be like. I've been imagining a cold rum drink pressed into my hand as I board the plane, the crew dressed in grass skirts, tribal drumming piped over the PA system, and flaming slabs of pork served on palm leaves for dinner. When I selected my meal from the drop-down list on the website, I was staggered by the choices available--raw fruit only! ovo-intolerant! lactophilosophical!--and thought "Wow, here's a classy airline." Then I bought our tickets to Seattle and found that US Airways offers the same meal choices, and the vision of plush luxuriance faded a little.

Regardless of whether Air Tahiti allows me to pretend I'm a plantation owner for thirteen hours, I'll be able to escape into "traveling world," something I've always loved to do: while on the plane, nobody (except for those two little people) will know me. To everyone else there, I'll just be a brown-haired woman with glasses standing by the bathroom door; I could be anyone, from anywhere, thinking about anything. I've always found that temporary anonymity freeing, and look forward to it before embarking on a trip. Of course, once someone talks to me, I'll become regular old Isabel again, flying from California to see her parents, daydreaming about rum drinks and flaming slabs of pork while waiting in line to wash off all that spit-up.

1 comment:

packofchicklets said...

I didn't know you were going to France! I suppose that you are either in the airport or on the plane right now...Well, have a great time and kiss everyone for me!

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