Leaving, on a jet plane

Maybe it’s not a jet as much as a tiny plane that is given the minimal maintenance required to remain in use. Still, for the first time since January, tonight I will sleep in a bed that isn’t mine.

I began my journey in the sleepy Knoxville airport with a silly body scan. If we had universal healthcare, airport security screenings could team up with lab techs to make the scans and gropings something more than security theater. As it is, the scan is quick enough that I can keep my belly roll sucked in for the cameras.

Since this is approximately my sixth plane trip, I am still a white knuckle flyer. Starbucks in airports should sell ‘adult’ coffees for nervous travelers. Flight attendants don’t act like moms, so there was no reminder to visit the restroom before I boarded the plane. I will not make that mistake again.

I like the snowy blanket of clouds over Knoxville, but I love the patchwork quilt of recognizable farms that reminds me I am only temporarily leaving my home. Contrasted to the clumps of clouds over DC, Knoxville is sleepy and calm. While we fuss about the little things in our city, we all know that underneath, we are good people who love our families and communities. DC is a breathtakingly beautiful city, but the fuss isn’t anything superficial. The work here is serious and today’s mood is conflicted. Neither celebratory nor somber, but conscious of the historical significance and consequence of human choices.

The PA in DCA keeps making an announcement about the USO lounge here. In my mind, there is a big band playing swing music and smartly dressed people in uniforms sitting calmly while their minds drift elsewhere. I like that fantasy and will steer far away from the USO lounge to avoid reality shattering the dream.

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