On the way to Providence, via Baltimore. On Southwest, which has its hassles, like no assigned seats, so Liam and I are sitting 10 rows behind Gina and Cass. But the flight attendants are hilarious. "Due to Federal regulations, this is a no smoking, no whining, no complaining flight". Liam is fascinated by the safety instructions card. We talked about why the masks might drop out of the ceiling, why there's a slide for the door, which exit is closest to us. He's well prepared for any and all disasters. I think he imagines he'll get to save all of us when we crash; he'll be the critical "no high heels" monitor on the escape slide.
He used to be scared of flying. Not so much any more, and he's too big now to admit he's scared (he's a manly 7 year old). But you could see him starting to tense up when we were taxiing out to the runway. I told him that mom always blesses the plane. I told him that I always imagine that my dead grandparents who are now angels help the plane take off. Nana Truscello in front, Nana and Grandpa S. each get a wing, and if the weather's bad sometimes I get Jesus to help get the tail off the ground. I told him all this and he looked at me and said "I think I'm just gonna hang on". Seven years old and he already thinks I'm a dingbat. He wouldn't hold my hand when we lifted off...too cool for that. But he grabbed onto my thumb pretty tight for a few minutes.
This is the Romper Room flight. Typical for a holiday weekend. I used to hate babies on planes. They scream, they stress people out, they occasionally smell bad.
Now I love when the flights are crowded with kids. You can almost always get a kid to laugh if you make goofy faces at them. I love making kids laugh.
Grownups ought to do that more often. Make goofy faces at each other. A great stress reliever. Flight delayed? There's gotta be some travelling sales geek around who still remembers how to turn his eyelids inside out.
Liam got bored with Legolas after 10 minutes. For some reason Legolas is missing one of his daggers, and I won't let him shoot the bow and arrow on the plane. Not so much because he might put an eye out, but because, well, that would be the last time we ever see those arrows again. And the arrows look cool.
"I'm bored with all the stuff in my bag." "Well, you didn't pack very wisely then, did you? Why don't you read your Captain Underpants?" Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part I: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets. Kids today have some cool shit to read.
Peanut-free flight. I thought I'd be bummed, but you know, when I'm not drinking, the lack of peanuts doesn't seem like such a big deal. I'd rather have something sweet. Maybe I could trade my pretzels for an extra pack of Lorna Doones.
Flying without drinking took a while to get used to. I was always one of those people who had to have 12 dollars or so stashed in my pocket to get me enough to drink to get through a whole flight. When they came around to pick up cups, I'd order my second. If it was a long flight, I'd order a third. Usually I'd have one of those mild "I drank in the afternoon" hangover headaches by the time I picked up my rental car. When I flew up to Boston last winter when my grandmother was dying, surviving the drink service on the plane and surviving a three hour layover in Dallas were probably the biggest tests of my fledgling sobriety I had ever faced. Because I was traveling alone, I was stressed out enough that I certainly deserved to drink, and when it comes right down to it, who would know? I could drink all I wanted on the trip and nobody would be the wiser.
But I knew if I told that lie, then I could tell bigger lies. And bigger lies would give the opportunity for bigger drunks. And if I wanted to be drunk all the time again, well, shit, I didn't need AA any more, I could just go back to drinking. Permanently. I know I could convince Gina it's a good idea; she still doesn't completely understand why I can't just keep drinking, but drink less.
But I knew I didn't want to go back to that. I wanted to go back for a little while, just medicate today, and then return to my sober life.
If only it worked that way.
There are a lot of AA slogans that irritate me, but one that I fully grok is the one that says you can have all the relapses you want, but you only get a limited number of second chances at recovery. A few months back I might have been able to make the case that drinking again now and quitting again later would be easier than staying sober now.
But now, almost nine months into it, I don't think that way any more. I feel like my sobriety is almost on autopilot. I barely notice the people on the plane getting their Crown Royals and their Coors Lights. I don't automatically seek out the airport bar, if only to gaze in wistfully at the taps, looking to see if they have Guinness. And I don't want to fuck this up. It's a lot easier to stay sober than to quit again.
Liam has discovered that the laptop in the row in front of us is showing Finding Nemo. So he's got his eye pressed to the gap in the seats, like I used to have my nose pressed to the window of the airport bar. I guess I should have brought a movie for him.
All talked out. I arranged a pretzels for cookies swap with the boy, so it's time to feast. Maybe if I sit up really tall I can catch some of Nemo.