I am now cruising, once again at an altitude of 34,000 feet. The air three feet to my left is somewhere in the neighborhood of -65 degrees Fahrenheit, although I no longer know the exact temperature, because I’m on one of the tiny regional jets now, not one of the fancy big planes with TV screens in each seat. I am closer to home, if “home” means Sacramento. The flight today routed from Atlanta through Salt Lake City, which gave me the chance to call a friend and have an unexpected lunchtime visit.
|We went to The Bakery, where we talked about the past, and the present, and the future, about plans, and people, funny experiences we’ve had, things we’ve seen and done since the time we last saw each other. I ate a gourmet grilled cheese and had a slice of my favorite dessert (ever), the pailletin.|
The Pailletin, as you can see, is popular. They don’t always have it. So I was delighted that they had it yesterday, because it’s amazing. Chocolate fluffy mousse-like with a denser layer that has hazelnuts and a crispiness to it. Dusted with cocoa powder and awesome.
So I ate my favorite dessert, and I saw a friend I haven’t seen in a couple of years now… and I wouldn’t have traded that chance to reconnect for anything. Not even for a chance to get home last night, the way my flight was originally planned.
See, the flight from Miami last night was late, causing me to miss my connection, and necessitating an overnight stay in Atlanta. Delta offered me a voucher for a discounted (but not free) hotel room, but after waiting 30 minutes for the shuttle, I decided to go with a different hotel. After checking in at the desk, I went up to my room and I saw… this:
Cheerleading. A great big group of cheerleaders were in my hotel. In the room right next door, and the rooms next door to that one… I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get any sleep at all, but it actually wasn’t bad that night. It wasn’t bad until… 6:00 a.m. this morning. At 6:00 a.m., sharp, I heard a woman’s voice. Yelling. In the room next door. Clearly, she was agitated about something that one of the cheerleaders had said to her. It also became clear, shortly, that the woman yelling was not actually a cheerleader, but rather… a cheerleader’s mother. I ended up being woken up by a screaming, yelling, hysterical cheerleader-mom. She was upset because one of the girls had been rude to her, and lots of ranting and swearing and rude language later, I heard the following statement, delivered in a classic southern drawl (an accent that always reminds me of my ex mother-in-law):
“Now, I know my daughter. My daughter’s stupid…”
I can’t say that she said it entirely without affection. It’s obvious she cares for her daughter. After all, to go along for the ride with an entire group of *cough* teenage cheerleaders clearly shows that she wants to support her. But as I was listening to her go on about her “stupid” daughter, I couldn’t help but think about how incredibly grateful I am for my own life. My own family, my mother, my childhood, my friends. The older I get, the more things I see, the more I think… if I had it to do all over again, and I could change anything I wanted about my childhood… I wouldn’t. Not one thing.