The Long Flight to San Francisco

Twelve hours sitting in one place, hearing only the droning airplane, and seeing my legs swell into logs—no matter how you look at it—is a long time.

“Stand up and walk around every two hours,” advised doctor-son on the phone earlier.

Tony and I did better than that. We went to the lavatory every hour. Somehow, idly staring at nothing in particular made us hear the voice of our kidneys.  In between, I tackled the plane’s four newspapers and their crossword puzzles.  My seatmate took in a movie, or two.

At mealtime, my equally bored partner had his first tantrum.  (He insists these episodes are no tantrums, they’re fighting for one’s rights—or giving excitement to a humdrum situation.) We were the last to be served and left with no choice but beef.

“I don’t want to eat beef,” he said. “It’s chicken, or nothing.”

The stewardess turned as white as sheet. “B-but, we only have beef left.”

“Well, turn the plane around and get me my chicken,” he countered.

The poor stewardess apologized profusely and scampered to the kitchen. In ten minutes she came back, “I have chicken for you but no more mashed potatoes, just pancit.”

“Okay,” he said, grudgingly.

I might have heard her release her breath, after maybe incanting some abracadabra to conjure up a chicken dish. 

I turned to my chronological Bible, the only book I brought with me, and found solace in the book of Deuteronomy.  We were not exactly battling a war (except that boredom can be as merciless as war), but this verse came as reinforcement.   

“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! Deuteronomy 20:1 (NLT)

Every verse is laced with grace that made a long, exceedingly long, flight seem like a wee wrinkle in time.

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