At the two hour mark the flight to Seattle became tedious for my daughter. Explaining the relevant length of a 1840s Conastoga wagon trip to our plane flight made little impact. Sigh.
Something I’ve noticed before is that air travel is the last bastion of the feudal system. The hierarchy of classes is painfully evident from the boarding of the plane to the embarrassing walk through first class. There they sit smugly in their preferred member seating, icy cocktails already in their hands, gelled hair resting against complimentary pillows with real cloth pillowcases. Then the lowly zone four members shuffle past, not daring to allow our carryon bags brush against their starched shirts. We are the unwashed. They avert their eyes. We humbly wish for an bit of space in the overhead compartment. Alas, there is no room in the inn. Our seats are tiny, theirs less tiny. The flight attendant hovers near the thin gauzy veil that separates the haves and the have nots. What are they eating up there? I smell steak as I struggle to unwrap the plastic on my saltines. Do I hear music, see dancing? The surly man who blocks Madeleine and I in our seats glares at us as he sleeps. A baby cries out near the lavatory. I’m sure I hear a dog bark. The overhead fan mocks us by blowing stale warm air.
After what seems a fortnight we arrive at the rainy gate. We wait solemnly yet dutifully. What a trip they have had, those in the front, those in first class. Joke’s on them. We have arrived too. Hello Seattle.
It’s really lovely here. And with most trips our first task upon arriving at the airport is getting away from the airport. A light rail will take us to downtown Seattle, allowing us the slowly changing landscape of the real have nots. Grey dilapidated houses and abandoned warehouses littered with graffiti greet us. As the journey continues with each station stop the landscape improves. The houses are painted beautiful earth tones, planted flowers in raised gardens fill grassy yards. Low clouds give the feel of a cool embrace.
BTW someone should tell Seattle winter is over. It is 46 degrees. But each sight is new to us and therefore fascinating. Even the rain and cold seem quaint and otherworldly. The space needle is of course a welcomed sight. Seeing something that is so famous in real life makes us feel like we’ve been let into a secret world where pictures become reality.
Having no car, M and I set out on foot. She’s very adventurous and ready to explore without a map or directions. She’s much more willing to just go than I ever imagined her to be. We both comment that we can feel the missing sisters and keep feeling an imagined pressure to return to them. Perhaps they wait for us in the hotel room. They are of course at home, back on the east coast.
We had a delightful spontaneous afternoon, went up in the space needle and discovered an amazing glass garden that is not to be missed. Had overpriced burgers and discovered a consignment shop to explore.
By four o’clock we were becoming quite punch drunk from waking at 330am EST. We giggled and spoke in slurred drunken tones. Each of us took a hot shower to prop us up through our early bird dinner at the hotel. Sleep overtook us by six-thirty and we slept a solid 12 hours.
Whatever will today hold?