Beatlevania April 28, 2010Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Toulouse Street.
I woke at 4:30 this morning (3:30 central river time) in yet another Marriott, groggy from the ale I drank last night to overwhelm the coffee I foolishly drank out of distracted boredom at the 3 o’clock training break. Now I’m sitting in the Richmond airport at 6 am after a dark drive past the exits marking the last days of the Confederacy, reading a blog post on Cliff”s Crib about the storm tourist bus stopping as he and his brother took a break from clearing the house where the flood took his grandmother. Now that I’m in a perfectly bleak early airport funk I check late emails from work and realize that everyday I fall a little further behind and eventually the last man gets eaten so I snap the Blackberry backs into its holster and just sit and stare.
And who is this young woman in the row across, facing the same way, craning to hard to catch a glimpse of? It couldn’t possibly be me: over fifty, over weight, with hair frizzled like the raggedy remains of something that’s been through the wash one time too many and she would need the eyes of a hawk if it were me but there is something hawkish about her, thin with angular features. Boarding Zone Three and we all file into the chute to the slaughter of another flight, another expense report, another meeting when I finally get home.
The woman from the terminal is my neighbor across the aisle and we glance at each other as we try to get seated. She’s wearing a frilly front blouse under her blue jacket and slacks, dressed for success in a way that seems a bit dated but she’s not that young and we all fall into habits of dress but the is something about the flounce of her blouse and her lean features that makes me think there is something Virginia country, something of the mountain hollow about her, something we indolent low-landers think of as hard until as we all spin and circle settling into our seats and getting bags packed away like bees dancing out directions to the Atlanta airport and suddenly she laughs like the peal of bells in a country church and all the edges of her face soften.
Once we’re all seated, she eyes suspiciously my copy of Gulf Coast open to a page of poetry and pulls out her I-Pod and Blackberry. So much for conversation (and I’m the bashful, bookish one who pulled out the journal) so I pull out my I-Pod and spin the wheel until I finally settle on The Beatles and suddenly the coffee edge of a 6 am flight softens and I don’t give a fuck in the most wonderful way, as if I were 17 again driving to high school with a joint going around and I don’t care about where I’m going or what I have to do. I only care about the sea green Spring leaves of the live oaks glistening in the morning dew, everything sitar yellow and cello warm, care only about the way “I’m Only Sleeping” flows into “Your Bird Can Sing” and for a moment innocence is something I can breathe in, hold for a moment and release. My neighbor is now in earnest conversation with her row mate so I turn up the volume and while our flight is pulling back to the terminal–an indefinite delay–the next song comes on and I am “Flying”.