I must say…I had great ambitions for today. Long-winded things I wanted to write, a ballet class I wanted to attend, and, at the very least dishes that I needed to wash. Yeah, none of that is happening at the moment. I did, however, manage to get myself out of bed despite the feeling that my right eyeball might explode. Too graphic? Perhaps. In other words, if you turned up the volume on the morning talk show I usually enjoy watching, I would divulge any government secrets I might have. Ouch.
Mind-numbing headache aside, I’m feeling nostalgic and in an effort to keep things lighthearted, I’d like to tell the story behind my the picture on my blog’s banner (above). Things looked rather plain on Watch Me Juggle without it, but the moment I put it up, I got questions: “Wait…you’re not juggling in the picture?” No dear readers, I am not literally juggling, but let me explain.
Last summer, I flew to Hawaii with two of my dear friends. Both seasoned travelers and former airline employees, they helped me navigate our standby flights from Oakland to L.A. continuing on to Oahu. Midway through our connecting flight, Rachel turned to me and confessed that all the flights to Hawaii are not just full, they’re overbooked. Even better, she and Jessie are about 15 people ahead on the stand-by list. Whereas I, unaffiliated with any airline, am on the bottom; making the likelihood of getting on the flight of our choosing slim to none. I had a better chance of crawling in to the wheel well than getting on the plane. We met Jessie in LAX, who exclaimed “At least we’re not stuck in Bangladesh!” I laughed, until she explained that she has, in fact, been stuck at the airport in Bangladesh. By default, LAX is beyond luxurious. Looking back, we had as pleasant of a layover as could be expected: dinner, some time with family, and an early morning dash back to the airport in the same clothes we arrived in. I would have, undoubtedly, been not as calm had I been traveling with anyone else. Having said that, I had to make a concerted effort not to accost other fliers on the standby list ahead of me in an attempt to better my chances of getting on the desired flight. I had a vacation to get on with, after all. Against the odds, I was twelfth on the list for a plane with three open seats left, and I somehow ended up with a ticket. Sure, I ran at the gate attendant like a fugitive escaping the country disguised in a little girl party dress, but I was on! I reveled in my budget-conscious travel skills next to a family that instead chose to celebrate their vacation with rum and cokes before 8am. I, not to be outdone, managed to get my hands on a mimosa (because that’s how classy adults drink in the mornings).
Ok, you get it, I went to Hawaii. What about the photo? Well, while in awe of the dayglo palm trees and tropical weather, what astonished me the most was the water. As we made the winding trek from the Honolulu airport to the North Shore I couldn’t stop talking about the water and the beaches along the highway. They were so clear, so blue. Even the air there smelled different. Then, Rachel asked the question: “If I stopped the car, would you get in?”
“If I stopped the car, right now, would you get in the water?”
Of course I would. I can’t say I didn’t second-guess myself as soon as she pulled the car over. The lava rocks did look awfully precarious, but I scrambled down them, crab-like, managing to catch the edge of my dress on one as two local fisherman a few feet away looked on in amusement. I almost felt the need to give a disclaimer, but I guess they could tell that the pale girl in the polka dot dress was out of place. Standing in the thigh high surf, my dress wet, I pretended I was all alone, just for a second. It was easy to do. With my friends waiting for me in the car, I spun around a few times in triumph, my hands over my head, as if I’d flown all the way there of my own volition. As I get older, I hope that becomes the kind of thing I do more and more. Namely, whatever I want, not giving a damn of what other people think. I might not really be able to juggle, but who cares? I can try anyway.