Departures and Arrivals

IMG_1567Sometimes an idea gets so stuck in your head there’s no room left when a better one comes along. That’s how it was with picking up my mom from the airport this morning. Her flight arrives at 8:55 a.m. All week long a taxi has seemed like the best option – why take a risk on public transportation when one wrong transfer could leave my mom wandering the airport alone asking passersby “Hah-blah-eng-glish?” It’s 8:30 a.m. when I realize my mistake. I’m in the back of the taxi just a few blocks from my apartment listening to a torrential downpour and staring at gridlocked traffic. Rush hour in the rain: Of course I should have taken the metro.

The experience of sitting in a traffic jam is such an acute stress, still familiar to me despite a 9 month sabbatical from what was once a daily ritual. I practice yoga breathing and remind myself there’s nothing I can do about it now. The time for action was 45 minutes ago when I was leisurely sipping my coffee and archiving the more than 1500 messages in my Gmail inbox. Funny how the brain works sometimes.

So I breathe and selfishly pray that her 10-hour flight is delayed by the weather. If I believed in such things, I would take credit when she tells me on the taxi ride home the plane was suddenly averted just minutes before landing, a mere 100 yards off the runway.

The delay saves me. I arrive at Terminal A just in time to pull the paper I've printed from my backpack, and in doing so fulfill my mom’s lifelong dream to see her name on a sign in the midst of a crowded airport. All’s well that ends well. Let the adventure begin.