Friday, August 26, 2011


"I want to be in group 2," Best told me while we milled about, waiting for our turn to board the flight back east toward home.

"Sit by the window," I replied helpfully, for that is how one gets in group 2.

"No," he replied with a shake of his head. "I want to be on the aisle and in group 2." My lips curved in an approximation of a smile and I returned my attention to the gate agent, hoping there would be enough overhead space for our items and thinking that it just didn't work that way. You don't always get what you want, but there is often a way to get something. It ends up being a judgment call in a priority game.

"Sprout escaped," Dad reported when I answered my phone after dinner. We'd settled on a deck by the water to eat fresh seafood and talk of life and business and art. And after taking a last lungful of ocean air, I climbed in the car to ride back to the hotel.

"That's fine, Dad," I replied gently. "He's been getting out lately and always does fine. He'll be back in the morning."

"I didn't mean to let him out," he reported, sounding terribly guilty. "And he wouldn't come back when I called him."

"Yes," I soothed. "He knows his own feline mind. But I'd be surprised if he wasn't inside when you wake up tomorrow. Get some sleep."

And, sure enough, Dad reported that he went on the deck the next morning to call for the cat, hearing a meow in reply from inside the screen where Sprout looked at him inquisitively from the kitchen floor.

"I was worried about him," Dad told me and I smiled. And with a swish of a stripey tail, Sprout went to find a spot in the sunshine so he could nap.

"I want to go home," I whined to Best upon landing in our layover city. But despite our best efforts, a plane that left California 3 hours late didn't allow for our presence on the connecting flight and my shoulders slumped in a dangerous mixture of exhaustion and frustration.

"We were up at 3:30AM to get here yesterday!" I recited, trailing along behind him so we could make alternate plans. "We spent 5 hours at the airport before catching a long flight and missing our connection. It's 10:30PM. I'm tired. I have a 7:00AM meeting tomorrow and I have to catch a 6AM flight again on Sunday! Damn you, United."

"Feel better?" he asked, tugging his suitcase behind him, shoulders slumped in a manner similar to mine.

"No," I pouted, wanting to whimper. "But there's nothing I can do about it."

So whether it's an iPad running out of power just before I finished my book or San Diego's shrinking fishing fleet of charming boats or the fact that, try as I might, I couldn't get to sleep until after 3AM and had zero energy with which to think during important meetings today, there are some things one can't control.

And then there's the delicious moment where my head hits the pillow and muscles relax and a marine-layer like fog envelops my brain when nothing matters all that much anymore.

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