Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco De Mayo:"Home" Again in Santa Ana

Winter never challenges summer in this place. There are magnolia like blossoms the size of dinner plates blooming on a tree outside this window, and white doves circling the "mission style" hotel. I will re read the earthquake instructions ( because I am me) and then get on with vacation. We are actually calling it vacation!

Steve gave me my first Mother's Day gift yesterday. Delta upgraded him to First Class on the two longest legs of our flight west and he gave ME my first experiences of that pampering while he sat back in "steerage".

WHOA! It almost made me forget being the one person the pimply, 49 ish, geeky TSA agent singled out for special surveillance. "Female Surveillance Assistance needed" he yells, after snarkilly barking "Ma'am. Over here!" to me. He literally pointed to a spot on the floor at his feet as though directing a dog to "sit"! If I had verbalized what was going through my mind I'd be in a jail cell in Grand Rapids....for a long time. I had been thinking to myself how nice the GR TSA agents were compared to agents in other airports I have experienced. Then I ran into this jerk. It was impossible to look at him and listen to him and NOT feel he'd been a nerdy kid bullied his whole life and NOW he had a uniform and some power. DUH!

All was soon forgotten as I nestled into my first class seat with it's cheerful red blankie and little pillow and was introduced to my new friend, a 70ish woman who was more than willing to share wine, her wisdom ( she a psychologist practicing with her psychiatrist husband for 30 years in Vermont. That fed my psychology "junkiehood") and her indignation at what a pain travel had become due to the TSA. She knows what she is speaking of as she told me over the hours in the air of their travels all over the world. The conversation began with her very casual mention of politics in Mali experienced on their boat trip to TIMBUKTU! That was the beginning. As she began to warm to her subjects, not to mention her third glass ( and it was a GLASS) of Argentine Pinot Grigio, I heard about their canoe trips to visit her husband's brother, an Irish Catholic priest whose mission on the Amazon extended 1000 miles to the edge of Venezuela; of how the Bishop had a dinner they attended which featured PIRANHA cooked 28 different ways! She said it is a firm, white meat, pretty good taste and gestured with her hands the variety of sizes of piranhas. She said they'd swim with them and that unless there is blood in the water ala sharks, they don't bite. Good to know. As she talked freely of her family , of the two nannies she had had for her four children as she worked, I was pretty certain that flying first class was NOT an airline upgrade for this couple but rather the way they ALWAYS travel...when not in a canoe on the Amazon or on a boat to Timbuktu or on an Air France plane suddenly diverted to a small airstrip in North Africa where with no explanation the plane took on a group of white robed men wearing lots of jewels before taking off. ( They never could get information on what they'd seen from Air France but believe it was France helping air lift these leaders out of a military doubt to France where they could begin to live off siphoned monies deposited in Swiss Banks.)

It was a surprisingly smooth flight. The Cabernet MIGHT have had something to do with it but obviously, sharing hours of flight with this woman was a most excellent distraction for someone who hates to fly.( and these anecdotes are only the tip of the conversational iceberg which rambled from her husband's upbringing in Ireland leaving a pub five minutes before it was blown up by the IRA to her early visits to Salt Lake when you couldn't get a cup of coffee because Mormon's don't drink stimulants ,opinions on polygamy...and politics. Politics. Oddly, for some reason, this woman assumed that our "politics" were the same. WHOA! TWICE in one day I had to keep my big mouth shut! My delightful travel companion was a flaming liberal, a rabid Democrat and I would never have thought of sacrificing a second of our wonderful time by doing anything but nodding and nodding as I sipped and sipped my first class wine kindly refilled and refilled by the handsome, fliratious and well tanned male flight attendant. I do not think it was my imagination that in the first class cabin I noted the flirtatious and very attractive blonde female attendant served all the men and the guy with the dazzling dimples plied the females with drinks ( "Oh you' re not driving let me fill your glass again!") and chocolate, and hot towels before our "inflight snack". It was only a snack he said rather apologetically as he offered our menu choices. This snack was something I would be proud to serve for my next dinner party. It was PERFECTLY prepared.

My travel mate even provided free psychological insights into dealing with my lack of enthusiasm for flying, gave me methods to use and suggested goals to get a passport and travel more before we parted ways.

"Just HOW MUCH does it cost to upgrade to first class when one flies?" I asked Steve when he finally de-planed several minutes after me in Salt Lake City.


  1. I LOVED this!!!! Sounds delightful and very entertaining :)
    Have a fabulous trip :) can't wait to hear more :)

  2. OH, Joanne! What a wonderful flight experience...and first class! Just the beginning of a wonderful week, I'm sure.
    God is good!!!

  3. So. Jealous. Of it all. California, first class, being able to drink MULTIPLE GLASSES OF WINE.....:) Enjoy your vacation, Mama. You deserve it!