DATELINE: August 8th, 2011 but JUST Re-Discovered from the “Lost Blog Files”, written Somewhere In The Air on the Way To Someplace
We’ve reached a cruising altitude and before the ding is done, I’m pulling out my laptop. My mind is racing, piling one thought atop the next, with what I recognize is a bit of manic viciousness, perhaps brought on my 15 minutes of sleep all night. Clearly, my only remedy is to write. Any sleep I could possibly get on the plane will still leave me helplessly behind on sleep, so why bother?
For a while, I feel sorry for the man in the aisle seat next to my aisle seat…his legs bent to keep his knees from hitting the seat in front of him. Surely height has been an advantage all his life. Everyone knows – even if only subliminally – that height gives an edge, which I’m sure he’s enjoyed…either vis a vis better jobs, better pay, more interest from the ladies… Yet I still feel pity for him, who despite sitting with his legs wide open (as men always seem to do even in the most confined spaces), his knees still bump the airline seat. Then I notice he is reading a magazine column where the featured question comes from a man who wants to ask his hot new neighbor out on a date. Instantly, I judge the tall man as inappropriate – at best – and lose all sympathy.
My mind abandons my iffy aisle neighbor and ricochets back to the porches that have been my visual fixation for a week.
And speaking of visual, I dislike when the passenger in the window seat closes the window. The windows on either side of me are closed. This is rude, even if they are trying to sleep. Windows should only be closed in the event that a direct bolt of sunlight is burning directly onto the windowed seater. But this is lovely early morning light I am missing.
Speaking of what I miss, back to the porches. Big, wraparound, railed porches. Instantly, I’m conjuring up benches swinging on chains hung from the ceiling. I see a rocking chair next to a table holding a tray containing a clear glass pitcher of lemonade, beaded with condensation. I feel afternoon laziness and a sense of place and harbor fantasies that involve neighbors happening by and enjoying conversations
If a man for whatever reason has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
Okay, a giant just brushed past me. Seriously. Where does the Midwest make people this size? Like my aisle neighbor, he’s an older gent. And like so many men, he’s unaware of his size, so as he bends to look at his seat, he backs his rear end into another passenger sitting in the aisle. Fortunately, he’s a man, too, so he manages to not notice another man’s derriere repeatedly bumping his arm Ah, the blissfully unaware….
I assume my penchant for reading romantic literature from an early age imprinted in me this love of the big, wraparound, picket-fenced porch. I mean, where else would I have developed the fondness? No one I knew had one. Make that, no one I know has one. And God knows neighbors in Miami don’t stroll around the neighborhood, much less stop by for a spontaneous chat and a glass of lemonade.
But I see the homes with the big porches and there I am, wearing a gardening hat (which I don’t own) and gardening gloves (which I don’t own), drinking a tall cool glass of you-know-what as I peer across my yard to evaluate what plantings I shall plant in my romantic, rambling garden. People who know me just had milkshake shoot out of their noses from Laughter Shock.
In my imagination, the porch is the tradeoff for the city. It is a double-edged fantasy, both alluring and oppressing, for no matter how nice and grounded the whole thing feels, the grounding also feels stifling, limiting. The houses with the big porches are in suburbs, towns that amble, Midwestern towns that may as well be foreign countries to my restless soul. There’s the tradeoff. There’s the barrier.
I scratch a little deeper and hit the conflict: a yearning for warmth, home, stability, something to plant, a primal need to call a square of land my own. But it’s that versus my yearning to feel as free I can possibly feel. To take the road less traveled and take risks and eschew the ordinary and design an utterly original life and follow my dreams, which do not revolve around tableaus of porch-side chats or lemonade or hypothetical gardening.
I can’t explain why, but I am annoyed with myself. For looking at porches with lust. I think it feels like weakness, to want a piece of the normal dream. I’ve worked hard to make discomfort my comfort zone in my quest for extraordinary. I even prefer uncomfortable furniture; it keeps me from sitting too long.
But I suppose my occasional mental straying can remain a non-threat – as long as I follow the married person’s principle of look (at the porch)…but don’t touch (the porch).
You can enjoy Eileen’s musings on a porch or on an airplane or any place you find comfortable to read. Or uncomfortable to read, if that’s your thing. Thank you for stopping by. Eileen hopes you’ll subscribe and/or come back to read some more musings.
This has been Eileen’s 3rd Person Narrator Voice.