1/23/10

New York Elusive: T-Shirts

     the first thing i noticed at the airport was the t-shirts. what compels the need to send a message, no matter how witty or bland, on a t-shirt? 'cold beer', 'class flirt', 'Anna', swoosh, 'only God can judge me'. either it's meant to distract other humans or attract other humans. maybe it's a subconcious, modern day, form of community. i saw one with manufactured pink kiss marks all over it.
     my own electric blue microfiber nike golf shirt rendered me off the radar and part of the older community. almost invisible. however, it held a small degree of distraction itself and a full day of travel will always attract my most comfortable clothes. just as well. old is good. it means you've lived, experienced, failed, succeeded, and overcome. you are here. whatever here is. anything past 33 is bonus time anyway. Jesus never saw 39 going on 40.  of course, time measurements are confining for us. for now. really, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand days is like a year. mainly, time for us gives comfort and, perhaps, motivation. "been there and done that" or "i'm on my way".
     we're now in the air and on our way to New York City for the first time. my oldest daughter is performing at Carnegie Hall with her youth chorus. she sings like an angel and her t-shirt claims 'i fashion. despite her weak stomach, she is comfortable on stage and expertly partented, by her mother especially. her little sister adores her. her own muted, and more decorative, light blue t shirt reinforces her willing, and classy, understated nature. the female trio, and i, are in good hands as silent prayers of strength and peace ascend from all around. both the girls have scarves draped around thier slender necks that compliment the t-shirts perfectly and niether have ever been in an airport, on a plane, or to New York City.
     this family trip had been planned for a year. my wife is not a comfortable air traveler. her soul is clinched right now as we are somewhere above the louisiana delta on our way to New York via Atlanta. For me, to be above anything is welcome after a 7 hour delay at the airport following, and preceeding, heavy rains and incredible lightning strikes hammering all of north texas. during a brief break in the clouds, we finally went above the harsh storm and have left the wet woes behind. the sky is blue now and we're traveling smooth through the air. her soul is clinched and her eyes are closed. both daughters have already decided air travel is "boring" and "takes forever". i agree. we encountered line after line, had to practially undress and allow a body search, waited, found hope, lost hope, waited, ate, waited, rushed, buckled, lifted off, and waited. they envision more of the same before and after our stay in New York and they worry about the upcoming boredom.
     patientely waiting is a discipline. certainly not something that comes natural to the current version of ourselves. our technology, need for consumption, and closely monitored clocks have created a soup of anxiety. cluthching cell phones and carry on bags, the degree of desperation, dispair, and defeatism was alarming at the airport. announcement after announcment informing us about delay after delay were met with groans, grimaces, and sadness.
     "this is the biggest mess i've ever seen in my life.", a stranger yelled into her phone while ordering lunch at an airport restaurant. she ordered a hamburger and fries without making eye contact with the waitress and still on the phone. she did make brief eye contact a moment later as the waitress was leaving to put in the order.
     "maam?", she whirled around and shouted, "i want extra lemons".
     "sure." the waitress said without expression and disappeared.  the stranger apologized to the person on the phone.
     "really?", i thought "the biggest mess? ever?"
     "i can't believe this.", a man with heavily gelled hair said loudly to no one. take a look outside and believe it i thought. you can't believe what you see? no doubt successful on time arrival at his destination was extremely important. the weather seemed only his most recent excuse for failure. you know the type. we all know the type. the world is against them. as if the world can be against anything or anybody. tough way to live. on the whole, mother nature seems neutral. inspirational and deadly at the same time. always present. looming like the stars themselves, affecting every earthly scene. our food, our fuel, our air. our fun, our challenge, our benchmark. however, it is not ours. we are its. for a time. then we become it. forever, if we choose. maybe the mother of nature did eventually show us some favor because we are finally in the air and on our way to New York. but the city feels elusive. like it's repelling us or hanging a sign telling us to stay away. too bad, wanted or not, we're going to arrive.
     "what time is it?", my wife asks, "when are we going to get to Atlanta?"
     "in almost and hour.", i reply, "hang in there honey." she looks at me with misirable eyes. i reach out and take her hand. she hates this. i wish i could take away the anxiety. i try to distract her with conversation and parenting rituals. she is a powerful woman with a powerful will. she takes the good with the bad. so do i. we'll rest one day. forever. but rest now is fleeting. hard to come by. she is a powerful woman. her tshirt displays a diamond studded glowing cross.