Monday, November 14, 2011

Improvement and Destruction: Take Care

I told a fib in my last post. I did know that Monterey was in California when I went there last week. I'm a California girl, after all. Least I would've been had my parents not fled to Utah when I was a baby. They needed some space from three people who were too dependent on my dad (and vice versa--no pun intended): 1. his ex girlfriend with the long blond ponytail, 2. his mother, and 3. his drug dealer. Or should I say his mood alteration manager?

If it hadn't been for those three people I would have been born and raised in Long Beach instead of born and almost raised in Long Beach.

As it turned out there were plenty of blond ponytails and mood alteration managers in Utah too. And my dad's mother knew how to dial a phone.

Am I making my dad sound like a two-timing mama's boy with a nasty mood alteration habit? I don't mean to, really, it's just that some people look worse on paper than they do in real life. In real life he looked like the kindest and gentlest soul you'll ever meet, with a really big heart, and a few really small issues.

Mother/other/mood issues.

But he had his reasons. Plus it was the sixties! Drugs in the sixties were like cigarettes in the fifties.

But anyway, if I wasn't born and almost raised in Long Beach, I would like to have been born and almost raised in Monterey. I kinda loved it there. I've decided that in my next life I want to be a Mexicalian. I really dig coastal cities of the Spanish kind.

And I really dig Steinbeck too. I even bought a Steinbeck book at Fisherman's wharf to read on the plane. Travels with Charlie. It's a book of observations Steinbeck makes about Americans in 1960 after he packs up a trailer and his poodle and, at 58 years old, travels incognito across the good ole' U.S.A. GREAT BOOK! He's very observant--my favorite observation being when he arrives in Seattle, a place he spent a lot of time in as a child, and says "Why is it that progress looks so much like destruction."

How's that for profound!?

It made me think deeply. About improvement. Improvement also looks a lot like destruction in a way, for you really cannot improve something without destroying something else. Or at least losing something else.

Now don't try to argue with me and say that improvement is always good because it does have its drawbacks. Take for instance my early years of marriage. I was hell-bent on improving my figure. And I did. I looked as good as I get given my physical limitations. But while I was super hot, I was also super itchy. With a B.

It takes a lot of time and energy to be super hot. My hub noticed that I had become consumed with myself and lost my pleasant personality. He also noticed that I had become a rude driver and said he'd rather take me soft around the edges in matters of both body and soul. And also in matters of the road.

Bottom line: Improvement takes a lot of focus and it makes some people itchy. That's alls I'm sayin, Phyllis.

So I'm home now and I left Monterey a few hours earlier than my hub--6:20 a.m. if you want to know the ugly truth--not because I wanted to, but because I needed to help my daughter get ready for her Preference date on Saturday night . In other words, I couldn't stand the thought of her looking super hot without me.

But for the record, she too paid a price for beauty, in the form of a restrictive corset. Let's just say she sustained some internal bruising from having to maintain such perfect posture all night. There are three things that are next to do well with perfect posture--breath, dance and laugh.

Case in point!

So on my way home from Monterey three things happened that have never happened before.

First, my hub texted me. I was sitting in the Phoenix airport waiting for my connecting flight and I had just sent him a text letting him know I had arrived safely. I don't know why I did it, since he goes for weeks without reading his texts, and he never replies, but within a few seconds I got a text back. Take Care it said. Such a kind and . . . unusual thing to say. Kinda tickled my throat for a sec.

Second, I wore my reading glasses in public. I had to in order to read the text.

Third, my plane almost went down over Salt Lake City. I was looking out the window at the time, when suddenly the ground underneath me started dancing around. The Rocky Mountains were shaking their groove thangs like there was no tomorrow. And honestly, I was pretty sure there was no tomorrow. For a fraction of a hair of a split second I thought HA! At least my house is wearing clean underwear! But then those two little words came to mind: Take Care. Had my hub had some sort of a premonition from the Universe? Had he been warning me with his text, bidding me a fond farewell?

It's freaky what two little words can do to you when Salt Lake City is rocking out beneath you.

I reached for my phone to send my hub a final text. But what would my final text say? It's so hard to decide when you're under pressure like that. Take Care, maybe? No, he'd think I was mocking him. Sorry I didn't take care like you asked me? No, too alarmist, plus it would be too weird if the plane didn't go down after all. I love you? Again, that would be too weird if the plane didn't go down.

As I was debating with myself about the perfect final text, the plane picked up speed and lifted it's nose to the sky. Up, up, and away, turning as it ascended above the airport so that all I could see was the long term parking lot, and my car right where we left it in lot 19A.

So close, and yet, so far away. And as they got farther and farther away they all looked so . . . pointless.

From my view in the air I could clearly see the path from the lot to the terminal where my hub and I had made our amazing race just days earlier, and it occurred to me how crazy we must've looked to God that day--me in my new cheetah print ballet shoes 40 paces behind my hub, who was moving like quick silver with both duffel bags slung over his shoulders.

God was probably like "Dude, slow down . . . take a load off. Your plane won't even be there for another 40 minutes."

Or maybe he just looked down in his infinite wisdom and thought, "Take care."


Andrea-TheSockMonkeyMom said...

I never fail to smile when i come over here (and your radio player popped up one of my fav songs, so not a coincidence!)

My house has clean underwear, lol!

I'm glad you had a good trip. Freakish plane behavior not withstanding. Take care. Such simple words but so much meaning.

Take care my dear :)

Stephen said...

A very enjoyable read!

Martha said...

Glad you made it home in time to help T. she looked great!

Melanie Jacobson said...


Also, my MIL has been bugging us to read Travels With Charlie. Maybe I will.

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Wow I am glad you made it home safely.

Sandi said...

I love this one!

Becca said...

I'm so loving you right now. A Perfect and Beautiful thing, this is.

Becca said...

CRASH! I have to tell you this in a separate post. Because it mighta killed the mood attached to my sweet and totally sincere last comment. But guess what my Word-veri was? Guess. Guess. Because you should guess. No? All right. I'll tell you.


Not making it up.

DeNae said...

You're a gem.

Dolly said...

Whew!! Sooooo happy you did take care. I loved this post but that part was not pleasant to read because your writing is so good that I had a cathartic experience just reading about it.

P.S. Mark thanked me for hooking you up with him. He LOVES the words you have produced for him.

Dolly said...

Also, the stories about your mom and dad are probably my favorite ones to read about. You are the best comedy/tragedy combination I know. You make my mind bounce around with important thoughts. Love ya!

The Lovely One said...

I love Monterey! We go there at least once a year. Once of my favorite places.