Inside every cloud

Posted: January 22, 2015 in Miscellaneous, Personal, Travel
Tags: , , , , ,

The car reeks of gasoline.

It’s the car from the service company taking us to the airport and it reeks of gasoline. Bill says it makes him nauseous. Although it’s winter, we put the windows down three or four inches. I have my nose as close to the opening as I can get without climbing on the seat. I think of the way dogs poke their noses out the window and wish I could. The driver keeps apologizing, suggest we call the company, that they’ll take more notice of a customer’s complaint. Bill calls them from the airport. He says they just said “Thanks.”

We’re motioned into the priority line—nothing has to come out of the luggage, shoes stay on My shoulder bag gets pulled aside and I follow an unsmiling agent to a table where she begins to take everything out. “Don’t touch anything once I open the bag,” she tells me. She finally finds a small pocketknife I had no idea was even in the bag. It gets tossed, leaving me feeling furtive.

The waiting area is crowded and noisy. A child screams continuously. It seems as if half the passengers pre-board, although there are mostly empty seats when our turn comes. We choose aisle seats across from one another. I get lucky—the middle seat stays free. The little dog seven rows up keeps yipping. The child, blessedly, is quiet, no doubt exhausted from her crying bout inside.

The wings are de-iced, flight attendants do their shtick as stand-up, we take off, immediately entering the bank of clouds dooming those below to entire day of gloom. We go up and up. It’s as if we’re flying through the debris in a vacuum cleaner bag, fluffy and grey. The man in the window seat half-jokes about whether he should worry that the pilot can’t see anything. We laugh.

It grows gradually lighter and finally we emerge into the sunshine that’s always on the other side of the clouds. The snow field of white fills the sky. We exchange wondering glances, smiling at the beauty.

  1. brainsnorts says:

    i used to do a lot of biking, always with a backpack of granola bars, gatorade, and tools for problems. one tool was like a swiss army knife of different screwdrivers and other things. when packing for a trip to florida, i brought the same backpack for lugging things around disney, like granola bars and gatorade, but i forgot to remove the swiss army tool thing. they pulled me aside in the airport and asked, “what the hell is this?” i explained, and i soooo badly wanted to say, “yeah, instead of blowing up the plane, i was going to take it apart one piece at a time.” but of course that would not have been a smart thing to say.

    • Rich,I had this happen to me when we were going to visit the Statue of Liberty. I had no idea the security was airport-like and I had the Swiss army knife I got in Switzerland in the 70’s and have carried ever since (except on planes.) The guard suggested putting it in the car but we’d taken the subway, so that was out. He then said that people put things under bushes and get them when they return and as I had no choice, that’s what I did. Amazingly, it was there when we got back and I still have it. If I were a criminal, I’d just hang out, watching for people to try this. But thankfully no one did.


  2. Allan G. Smorra says:

    You have painted a wonderful picture with very few words. I admire your restraint and, especially, your result.

  3. Helen C says:

    “…flying through the debris in a vacuum cleaner bag” — I can see the picture, just love it. 😉 Helen

  4. Wonderful description – noticing details is so important in making a story real. Good job, Janet. (And I hope your trip was wonderful, or as wonderful as it can be while you’re squeezed into a plane.)

  5. Wonderful imagery. My husband recently earned his IFR designation in flying which allows him to fly through vacuum cleaner bag debris. I love your story of hiding the Swiss Army knife under a bush!

  6. Thanks for taking me on the trip. It was great. I was there experiencing it with you.

  7. says:

    Thats quite a story about hiding it under a bush. I’m glad you got it back!