Hello from the East Coast! I flew out Tuesday morning on Virgin Airlines, of all airlines. Most of you know, I haven’t had the best opinion of Virgin. A few years ago, there was that whole urinals debacle that really rubbed me the wrong way. And of course there was the constant selling of sex that annoyed me as well (I know, they are named Virgin. Hello!). But several of my friends and coworkers praised the new Virgin flights out of SFO: new planes, good customer service, and really great rates– $160 each way to DC! How could I resist? I believe in change: people can change and companies can change… I figured this opportunity was worth a try.
Now that I have made it safely to the other side, I have to say, the flight did not disappoint. The new plane was nice– loaded with power outlets, USB charging ports, cushy seats, adjustable headrests, the works. And the superior cabin pressure control in new planes makes all the difference: no popping ears! Sure, Virgin still tries to nickel and dime with the movies and food, but the touchscreen music jukebox seriously rocks. And I’m not even that into music. But I was listening to all kinds of stuff: Rhianna, Kanye, Dixie Chicks, Sara Bareilles, Depeche Mode… a whole mix. I had a grand time.
Unfortunately, the $160 return leg sold out before I could book it, so I’ll be on AirTran going through Milwaukee on Saturday night. Yup, bottom of the barrel is going to suck. But I’m frugal like that and frankly, flying on crap will only make me appreciate luxury even more. Haha, the mental games I play.
So my parents picked me up at Dulles on Tuesday night, and immediately, I was reminded of marital annoyance and irritation. At the parking kiosk, the machine ate our ticket and then my parents kept bickering (loudly too!). Mom kept reading the screen instructions: “‘Please remove your ticket!’ It says, ‘Please remove your ticket!'” But the ticket was eaten! Dad and I kept explaining that the machine was broken, and around and around we went in circles. It was a horrible, cacophonous show. I hadn’t been on the ground more than ten minutes and already they were starting this up. Ugh.
John and I are coming up on 12 years together, and I am definitely noticing signs of strain and fatigue. Never thought we’d become like “those people.” Ah, the naivete and ignorance of youth! I see now how things really do change, whether you want them to or not… And sometimes in my anger and frustration, I tell myself I’m done: I want to live alone in complete individual freedom, to wallow in selfishness. I feel almost certain. Almost.
And then I think of our good times: I look at old pictures; I recall our long conversations late into the night; I think of all our exciting travels and adventures. Who else could put up with me on a bus to Beijing for 21 hours (and with James Bond movies playing continuously at nightclub decibel levels!). I think of our individual struggles that we have overcome because of the love and support of each other. I think of how he loved me even when I felt depressed and abominably ugly. I think of how, because of him, I have changed for the better and become less rigid, less belligerent, more easy-going, more patient, and more tolerant (Some of you may disagree, but I said “less” and “more,” so it’s relative!).
I also think of how he has changed for the better and grown more responsible, more aware, more feminist, and more proactive because of me. And I realize that ultimately, these recent frustrations are still just bumps in the road. And witnessing silly fights like the parking kiosk incident is yet another reminder of what not to do and how not to behave in my own relationship.
Life really is a lot of work. But just as I learned from my stylish friend Pamela, looking good requires a lot of effort. Similarly, being happy is a lot of damn work. And as someone who’s never been averse to work, I’m resolving to be even more industrious: the ant who works throughout the summer makes it through the winter.