Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Destination: San Francisco

Thursday, September 15 2005
American Airlines Flight 1557
7:30pm Central Time

I depart Chicago on a too warm September afternoon. It threatens to rain until I get to the airport. At which time the threat is fufilled. So, out my window there is nothing to see but clouds. They mask the orange glow of a sunset fading low in the sky as the amplitude of the stars rises.

I travel to San Francisco armed with nostalgia, new clothes and a book pilfered from a pile of Hurricane Katrina donations. Without really thinking about it the music I have brought with me is all college music - Portishead's Dummy, Pixies' Doolittle, Beck's Odelay, Stevie Wonder's Talking Book and some random Stereolab CD.

Sunset revealed in stripes of yellow atop orange. A clear band of color across the sky. Small, but brilliant cities liter the landscape below us. Just part of the patchwork of America.

Consulting the map in the in-flight magazine (Jodi Foster discusses wursts of Berlin.) I determine we must be over...Missouri. Or Kansas.

Portishead Girl sings:

I can't understand myself anymore.
Cause I'm still feeling lonely
Feeling so unholy

I remember when this album was in the daily rotation and made me cry every time.

Passing places to go. All of these towns I always find myself passing over in favor of some other.
There really are lovely parts of Idaho.

The moon a drop of milk on granite countertop. It illuminates a large body of water and homes. Large homes set far apart from each other. Swatches of inpenetrable darkness set between them.
At this height the night
is misty and moonlit.

It is bitter chocolate outside. Even the small lights of cities look muted. They are half asleep while I am full awake. Looking forward to sharing a room, again, with Erin Wahlberg. She the intrepid traveler. Me always and ever reluctant and overpacked.

Tonight is "pre-game"with Erin. Tomorrow we reune with all the others over cocktails and then Seth and Brahmani wed the next day. I will stand witness in my sultry, red dress. Not so far removed but emotionally distanced from the girl seen rarely in photos 1994-1998.

It makes me wonder, all of these weddings but this one in particular, if ever any of us would have believed we'd be where we are today. Ten years ago, well met, under fed and overambitious, did we ever really and truly forsee love and marriage? Weddings and babies?

Ten years ago, at the age of 20, ten years seemed like a long time and 30 sounded old. I don't know if I have an answer to that question myself.

I think that big, glowy blob of light in the distance must be Las Vegas. Which means we are almost there. I don't remember the previous trip to Las Vegas taking this long. Maybe American Airlines is dull. I wonder if First Class is more exciting or if it just has bigger seats.

Without watch
I have no concept of time
Here in the ether.

1 Hour 40 minutes to go.

I am saving Odelay for the last hour of the flight.

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