Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crowded airline seats, luke warm coffee, and a big surprise

What's the deal with airline seats? Could they possibly cram more seats in and make them more uncomfortable? How much leg and elbow room does a full grown person really need for four hours anyway? Sounds like the opening of a bad stand-up comedy routine doesn't it?

Why is it always the case that the three largest people on the plane always seem to get shoehorned into the same crowded row?

I thought I was so smart reserving a seat just behind the bulkhead but when I went to sit down between my two traveling companions, movement of any kind became almost impossible. Just to drag my computer out from beneath my seat took a contortion effort worthy of a limber, circus performer. The worst thing about my assigned seat, though, is not its cramped conditions. It is sitting here having to watch the first class passengers - just one row forward and just beyond the "wall" - luxuriate in spacious, comfortable seats, waited on hand and foot and enjoying what looks to be a pretty good breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit, bacon and a pastry. I got a small banana nut “breakfast cookie” whatever that is.

I just finished my third cup of luke-warm coffee, having watched the attendant pour it while shakily holding the pot right over my knees. At least, if he had spilled it, it wouldn’t have been hot enough to cause more than minor discomfort. Now I am just hoping I can make it another 45 minutes and to the relative safety of O’Hare airport.

Why, you ask, am I enduring such nihilistic torture? The answer is simple. My 8 year old grandson Davis is in a program at his school and he so much as begged me to come see it. Im-pulsively, yet with Judy’s blessing, I used some accumulated air miles to buy the ticket, take the time off during a crazy, busy season, and head for the frozen climes of Chicagoland to watch a second grader perform. I can hardly wait.

Most everyone I have talked to agrees that this is a cool thing to do. Only one naysayer suggested that if I do this, I will set a precedent that I will not be able to accommodate every time he might ask. Who cares? It is worth it this one time and maybe - no, for sure - I’ll do it even more often. Life is too short.

So I guess I’ll ask for one more cup, hope it doesn’t spill on me or my seatmates, and patiently – if uncomfortably count the minutes till arrival. I wonder if Davis will be surprised.

On another note, the idea came up, more or less at the last minute, to plan a “Blue Christmas” service at Calvary. I think the leaders of our Stephen Ministry actually suggested it. That is not really what we’ll call it but it does depict what many people feel as the Christmas celebration approaches. For those who have lost a mate or a child or a parent, Christmas is different and not always a happy time. For those facing debilitating and chronic illness, the thought of merriment and joy sounds completely foreign. For people who are facing foreclosure, job losses, economic hardship or other difficult trials the joy and bright merriment that is all around them is hard to accept let alone participate in. Some people are just affected in a sad way by the short dark days and even longer nights of winter. Thus, a service just for them to put words to their feelings and to give voice to the hope that Christ’s advent promises and to feel the support and community of others who may feel much the same way. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” May it be so for those walking in darkness right now.

Post Script: I am finishing this post at 5:00 am CST Thursday morning. It is about 15 degrees outside. Today is the day of the big Christmas/Hannakuh/Kwanzaa (no - there isn't a Festivus for the rest of us a la Frank Costanza on Seinfeld) Davis was so surprised he didn’t even recognize me at first; then big smiles and hugs and a celebratory dinner at his favorite place – The Rainforest CafĂ©; and finally a late night viewing of “The Three Amigos” – Boppa’s and Davis’ favorite funny movie. (We will not die like dogs, we will fight like lions for we…are… THE THREE AMIGOS)

Three days parking at MVP parking in Seattle - $30.00; Dinner at the Rainforest Cafe - $60.00; sitting with my grandson cuddled up watching our "favorite movie" - priceless.

No comments: