My Trip Home - Day 1, Part 2
This post is part of an ongoing tale of my trip back home to Mississippi to visit my family. To start the story at the beginning, begin reading from October 30, 2007.
All the effort and panic I put out to get to the plane it seems to have done the trick. I made my flight on time and since everyone else booked for the flight did as well we were able to take off about 15 minutes early. The gods of travel were once again smiling upon me.
Airports are places where the average person stands even a small chance of running into a celebrity. Unlike hotels or restaurants or boutiques, there are only so many airports and eventually someone famous is going to come through them. And even though he may not be A-List material, on my flight from Amsterdam to Memphis, I sat next to Uncle Kracker.
Okay, it really wasn't Uncle Kracker. It was a guy with a goatee, sunglasses, a black baseball cap and two arms covered with tattoos. He wasn't anyone famous or even semi-famous but the minute I saw him "Uncle Kracker" popped into my head so I spent the entire flight mentally referring to him as Uncle Kracker. It occurred to me that perhaps he could be an air marshal but air marshals likely don't sit in a window seat hemmed in by middle-aged housewives, and they also don't spend 85% of the flight asleep. Unless he was just acting like he was asleep. If that was the case his cover was most effective because nothing seemed to faze this guy. During the flight he said exactly three things to me - Replying "Okay." to me when I told him he should just tell me any time he wanted me to move so he could get out of his seat, "You got a pen?" when he had to fill out the immigration and customs form, and "Thank God we're home." when the airplane's wheels touched down in Memphis. This man didn't eat the main meal served - slept right through it - and not once during the nearly ten hour flight did he get up to use the restroom. Uncle Kracker evidently has the bladder the size of a watermelon.
I hate mindless chit-chat with seat mates on a long flight so it wasn't hurting my feelings any that Uncle Kracker spent most of the flight unconscious. I was busy entertaining myself in other ways. I didn't take my knitting on the plane because I don't like feeling all hemmed in as I knit but I did bring along a book to read. However I was in a lovely Airbus A330 with video on demand so I had lots of movies to choose from to keep me distracted. First I watched The Good Girl and enjoyed it. While I normally can take or leave Jennifer Aniston, I like John C. Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal and was surprised that I liked Jennifer Aniston pretty well in this movie. The next choice was Mr. Brooks. I don't want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn't seen it but I would advise not to make the same mistake I did and eat cheese filled and tomato sauce covered rigatoni as you watch this movie.
Which leads me to mention my eating habits on a plane. I don't particularly like airline food, although I will say it's vastly superior to hospital food. I don't know why I don't feel the need to just ignore and not eat what's given to me if there happens to be a menu item I don't like. Perhaps it stems from the thought that it all gets thrown away at the end of the flight and it seems a shame to not eat some wrapped up item. Or maybe it comes from the idea that the flight attendant will see what I didn't eat as he/she takes away my tray and will somehow judge me for my not eating something. Whatever the reason, I found myself eating a chunk of cold cheddar cheese as part of my meal. I am not a big fan of cheese and really hate it if it's cold or at room temperature. I like my cheese hot and melty and only like cheddar of it's in conjunction with a taco or fajita. But there I was, being all Miss Waste-Not-Want-Not and eating my chunk of cheddar.
Being on an airplane at an altitude of 37,000 feet didn't make it any tastier. In fact it was vile.
And vile is what I'd say the third film I watched was. I watched Georgia Rule and I wasn't disappointed in the film as much as I was annoyed and repulsed. I should have known better than to watch a Lindsay Lohan movie while on an airplane after I had a flight from Frankfurt to Washington, DC ruined by watching two of her in The Parent Trap. In Georgia Rule she plays a selfish, shitty character who had nothing wrong with her that my foot up her ass wouldn't have cured and Lindsay played the whole movie with a look on her face that made it seem as though her upper lip stinks.
We landed in Memphis about 45 minutes early and since I was sitting at front of economy class I got out of the plane and down to immigration and customs in record time. I gave my customs declaration card and passport to the official and while I may be mistaken, he seemed to get less friendly when he saw the German residency visa in my passport. He went on to ask me why I lived there and what my husband did for a living ("He's disabled.") and what I did ("I"m a housewife."). He then asked me how I got money and I explained that my husband draws a disability pension, which was about as much regarding my finances as I wanted to reveal. Then the official asked me how I could possibly afford a ticket to the United States and I looked him dead in the eye and told him that I was good at saving up for big purchases. I suppose my candid answer is what earned me a little mark on my customs declaration that prompted them to pull me aside once I'd retrieved my checked luggage for them to send them through X-ray and a possible hand search. But there was no worry. The most dangerous thing in my luggage was some tiny bottles of herb schnapps and some hand-dyed yarn so I scooted on with no trouble whatsoever.
My sister and my nephew, Sam, had just arrived at the baggage claim area when I walked up to retrieve my bags so we were out of the airport so fast my sister didn't even have to pay for parking. I'd seen them about 15 months ago but Sam's at the age where he's growing and maturing more every week so he seemed like a whole new kid.
Rush hour was just getting cranked up in Memphis so we decided to wait it out by having dinner at the Macaroni Grill. At that point I had been awake for about 20 hours and was really too tired to have much of an appetite but still I ended up with a piece of lasagna that was bigger than my head and was thankful that American restaurants love to give you a doggie bag.
It takes nearly 90 minutes to drive from Memphis to my hometown and by the time we arrived I'd gotten my second wind and was ready to drop by The Plantation, as I like to call the facility where she lives, to see my mother.
She's 3 years older since I last saw her. She more stooped and shuffles more as she walks. Her memory is like a sieve and her sense of time is terrible but she still knows me and still hugs me as hard as ever. That's when I really felt back home.
I'll tell about day 2 tomorrow. Sonic, James Bond and the charm of small town life will be featured.