So, I’m mobile today and I was going to tell you all about it but I was at a campus that blocks WordPress. I ran around the situation by texting it through my phone but I didn’t think I could text an entire post.
And now I’m back on open wi-fi! Ironically, part of today’s theme was delay so it all really fits right in.
Yesterday I flew out of Newark airport on what was supposed to be a flight that would put me in Miami by 7:00. I’m working at a school here with good friend and educational colleague, Rowena Gerber, whom I like to refer to as the Solar Oven Diva. No one does solar cooking like Rowena. Check out the solar cooked lunch she made me today… seafood stuffed portabellas cooked in the Miami sunshine at 325F.
But, I digress. My departing flight was delayed and we didn’t leave Newark until about 7:00. By the time we rolled into Rowena’s it was after 10:00. Her five year old grandson, Zach, who was staying with her last night, chatted me up a bit when I got into the car but it was past his bedtime and he promptly fell asleep. I couldn’t say I blamed him.
OK, back to the airport. I had some time to kill. They kept saying it would be another thirty minutes, another thirty minutes… And, unfortunately, the air conditioning system was on the blink so the joint was getting hot right along with people’s tempers. If you wanted to sit, you grabbed the first open place you could find because as our flight continued to get delayed, folks from the next flight came into the gate. I took a spot next to a couple with a son named Matthew who looked to be about five years old. I bought a big bottle of water at a kiosk, two books at Hudson’s (which I never even opened), found the Larabar that was in my purse, and pulled out my new Koi travel watercolor set and finished this drawing.
Of course, this was there in the midst of Matthew and his parents. Matthew’s mother adored him and tried to keep him occupied with Thomas trains that she’d set up on the floor and some handheld video games. She took him back and forth to the window to see the planes coming in and out and the baggage trains driving past. She bought him snacks and drinks and relentlessly tried to do just about anything keep him from kvetching. But, one need not look too far to find out who was the biggest kvetcher in Matthew’s family because he started the minute the first delay came over the loudspeaker and didn’t stop, not for one second, even as we finally walked into the plane and found our seats: Matthew’s dad.
And, when I say he kvetched, it was the really unpleasant kind, irrational and incessant and replete with constant swearing. He was so mad about the delays he couldn’t stop talking about how mad he was. He was sure that the airline was out to ruin his vacation. Speaking of vacations, his wife tried to remind him that they were going on a vacation in that “it’s all good” kind of way, but he wouldn’t hear any of it. No. We’re not on vacation right now. Not at all on vacation. He was mad when it was too hot and then even madder when they got out some portable fans. He was mad about the price of an ice cream for his son, who, I have to tell you, was really trying to be good, being five years old and all.
I know people get mad in airports. I’ve gotten mad in airports. But, these days I just don’t see the point. If you’ve been reading this blog then you know I’m thinking nowadays about all those feel-good chemicals that come from being relaxed and happy. Of course, there’s the other chemicals, too, the bad ones, like cortisol, the “stress hormone,” that can lead to all kinds of yucky things. Truthfully, I was feeling a little cortisol just listening to Matthew’s father’s nonstop grousing so I was grateful when Matthew’s mother told him to take Matthew to look at the planes again. She immediately got out her phone and dialed what could have only been a girlfriend, a sister or a mother to tell them what an “idiot” her husband was. I wondered if she made this phone call for the benefit of everyone in the vicinity and was grateful, nonetheless, to learn that this guy’s wife did indeed think he was an idiot.
But there’s a sad part to this story and this is the point I’m going to get to. When Matthew’s father came back with him, Matthew was more agitated than ever. His mother reminded him this time that they were on vacation. And guess what little, five year old Matthew said? No. We’re not on vacation right now. Not at all on vacation. Maybe it’s just an annoying scene in an airport but, if you ask me, I’d say, yeah, it REALLY matters what we say and do around kids.
My friend, Rowena, arrived back to the house with me well after 10:00 p.m., put her grandson to bed and cooked a second round of dinner for me which I ate outside on a beautiful Florida night. Before her grandson, Zach, went to bed, he pulled some stuff out of his bag to show me. One of the things was a little white, plastic figurine that he’d colored with markers and turned into a robot. He told me it was a Color Blank and added, “Dar Hosta, I brought one for you.” (If you have ever been around me with children, you will know that all children always refer to me by my first and last name… one time a child asked me, ‘Dar Hosta, what’s your last name?’ It’s very cute.) I told him it was a little late and that I’d get to it in the morning.
So, I woke up in the morning to meet one of Rowena’s friends for a beach run. I had left myself just enough time for my daily two cups of coffee when I remembered the Color Block. I was just finishing it up when Zach came down, sleepyeyed, from upstairs. As I finished it up, I told him that I wanted to take a picture with his and mine together. He took mine, looked it over and told me he wasn’t done with his yet after all. It would appear that, after looking at mine, he decided that the one thing missing on his was a heart.
Wonder where he got that idea? Then, later today, I taught some preschoolers at one of the most inspiring preschools I have ever been in in my entire life, The United Way Center for Excellence. We made tree collages. They were in charge of making lots of leaves for the trees but, since we’d brainstormed on what kinds of animals love trees, I thought some birds were in order. I made a bird for each of the four trees we had going and was pleased to see that my bird inspired a little flock.
My dad always says that children are like little sponges. They soak up whatever we are letting leak out. I guess what I am saying today is that it’s probably a good thing to leak out less vitriol and more hearts and birds. And, if you find that you have to wait in an airport, have a good book, some great music or a sketchbook. Or just do some people watching. After all, what else can you do?
TRY THIS WEEK: Avoid the cortisol.
P.S. Today’s picture? Left is the running road I love today, right is the road I was actually on today. How’d I get both? Yeah, I got people.