Back in February, I succumbed to a Southwest special offer and decided to fly to Atlanta for this year's Fandango
, and to take the extra days dictated by the sale rate to poke around and see some friends, which rarely happens if I'm carpooling or zipping in just for the dancing. There was some second-guessing in the months since, but I left the arrangements alone, and last night I knew I'd made the right call: I'd needed the whole day to get various things closer to a not-fretting-about stage, from moving a dozen pepper plants from vases into pots to shredding chicken into freezer bags.
The Lyft driver and I chatted about her toddler's love of drawing, which led to me urging her to visit Martin ArtQuest, the terrific, materials- and activity-stocked kids' space
at the museum where I work. We also chatted about theater -- she was a stage manager, I was a techie. At the airport, I treated myself to a 15-minute chair massage, after which the therapist couldn't help asking, "What are you doing to yourself!?" (Knots galore.) On the plane, I scored an exit row seat and dove into Laura Jacobs's CELESTIAL BODIES: LOOKING AT BALLET. My bookmarks so far include these sentences:
Once the shoe is put on, it awakens. The moist heat of the dancer's foot warms the layers of glue that stiffen the box and the shoe becomes one with the foot.
What I was not expecting, in this shift to vacation mode, was getting hit with childhood memories. As the plane left Nashville, the lights below reminded me of how excited I was during my first trip to Atlanta, on a business trip with my father. I was six or seven years old. We were on an upper floor of a tall hotel, and when I wasn't sneak-zooming ahead in my English textbook (*), I couldn't stop staring at all the beautiful lights of the city, and desperately wanting to keep that view with me.
Like then, like now, ordinary cameras don't capture the magic of so many lights
. It was an unexpected melange of emotions to deal with -- really enjoying being an adult (no one stopping me from reading as much as I want, with drink coupons paying for grapefruit vodka [meh] and sparkling wine) while at the same time having flashbacks back to when I was in pigtails -- and also to about 2002, which is when I made several trips to Atlanta to attend workshops and visit Rancho Lesbiano. Rereading old entries
about those trips (especially The Dinner Party) has reminded me not only that I used to blog way more regularly and in way more detail, but that I enjoy revisiting such details, and it's on me to make that possible. (Badsnake and I are meeting for dinner next week. The internet is a cesspool, and the internet is also freaking fabulous magic.)
Decatur also contains memories of the year the BYM lived here (attending motorcycle mechanic school) -- and also of walking along this same stretch of Ponce de Leon (where I've spent most of today) with Honorary Mama a few years ago, when I drove her here to visit her children. The cafe where I've taken refuge (less crowded and more air than the library) this past hour is an outpost of Nashville's Pinewood Social (which I didn't know had expanded), including the Crema counter. The illustrations on the wall facing me are of tree branches and of cross-sections of a trunk. They look a bit like prints of a scarred fingertip.
Speaking of the pleasures of adulthood, it is now happy hour. Time for me to head to the Iberian Pig. :)
* Strictly forbidden by the grade-school teacher in question, but I was SO BORED and there was so little to read, both at school and at home, so I gobbled up all the stories while on the trip, and then pretended they were new to me the rest of the year. I might be more than a little bitter about how me being "gifted" was a something for those teachers to tame rather than feed -- especially now that I realize that other girls had to accept and conform to that crap.