We are on our way to Florida a couple of weeks ago .
We are taking one of those discount airline. I have purchased the tickets. DH has been teasing me about all the options I have purchased like "Priority Seats"
"I have always wondered who are the people who buy all these options.. it's a ONE hour flight .. well now I know .. its people like my wife " he smiles smugly .
I assure him pompously that I am sure that the seats will be practically First class ( not mentioning that I actually felt bad because the tickets were so cheap and I am worried that this airline like many others will soon be bankrupt and so I have added on some options as a sort of donation with them.)
First class they are not . They ARE towards the front
But DH has to sit separately. I am thrilled when I see R reach his hand back to DH to get a reaction from him and does a lot of peeking around to see when DH does not tickle his fingers. This is new.
The woman sitting on the third seat in our row is an older woman – maybe in her 60's . She has carefully curled hair.
The Baby boomers are always so much better dressed than the Gen Xers
I have bought a whole bag of tricks for R – Blues Clues books and Little Einstein books – a stamping set and so he is busy.
When the woman asks the attendant for some water – the attendant says its 2 dollars
"They charge for everything.. Whoever heard of charging for water ?" she expostulates
"Its shocking " I sympathize (secretly reassured that the airline IS moneygrubbing and therefore not headed for bankruptcy )
This has been the icebreaker and she starts to chat ( I love people who talk to me on planes though I try not to initiate conversation as my friends are always complaining about people who talk to them on plane)
She is off to Florida to visit her daughter and grandchild. She visits them twice a year she says
She takes a lot of trips with her friend. She has never been outside the US but her friend has even been to India, she tells me eagerly.
Even in and around our hometown she has been to plenty of places. She is so thrilled when I tell her my place of work as she has always wanted to do a tour of the company museum
"We went to Graceland last year. You know when I was in college Elvis was starting to get popular. He was going to do a show in my college but the Superintendant of the college refused. He said his movements were indecent " She giggles looking like a schoolgirl her face pink and alive with the memory
After some more chit chat, her expression changes again when she talks about how her husband after 35 years of marriage, has left her.
Later I find that she has been divorced 12 years. (seems a long time to me )
But the memory and pain as she talks seems recent and real
"I don't know why " she says" I was sick for a long time so I was a little out of it. I thought things were going fine but one day he just did not want to be married to me any more. I stayed in the same town for 5 more years hoping he would come back. But he never did. He is still with her ( the other woman ) "
I don't know what to say so I put my hand on hers and say non committal things about men and mid life crises.
As we start to taxi down – I am awed by the power of our minds.
Its as though each time we remember a memory – we RE-live it.
This lovely woman sitting by me has –re-experienced the forbidden joy of Elvis from her youth and the pain of her husband's betrayal – so many years after those incidents .
Maybe we generate that same physical chemical response in thinking about an event, that we did when we experienced it.
When we think about something pleasurable, we relive THOSE pleasant feelings all over again.
I know how miserable I made myself that first year of Autism when I thought about mercury, vaccines, denial etc
How often I went over those bad memories in my head – torturing myself with all the things I would have done differently if I could only go back in time.
Today I make a conscious effort to be deliberate about the movies of memories that I play in my head.
We may not be able to get rid of all the recordings of the tragic episodes of the great drama that is life
But we can surely delegate them to the back shelves of our memory library.
Allowing them to gather dust and become unrecognizable over time.
As we land , she pulls herself back together and talks about how much fun she is going to have.
I hand her my business card in case she ever wants to do a tour of the company.
( Though I know she will never call because she has said too much. )
I find I have learned an important lesson from her though.
The best clean-up job I can ever do, may be to declutter my mind.
Save the good thoughts, trash the bad.
Here is to reliving the good old times and making some new ones!