I love traveling, but I hate flying: the packing, the getting up at odd hours, the schlepping of luggage, and most of all, the flight. I am prone to motion sickness and also slightly claustrophobic, and I hate the squished-in feeling of a crowded flight (and aren’t they all crowded these days?). I used to always sit in an aisle seat near the front of a plane (bulkhead!) and spend the flight reading a trashy novel, but now that I have kids, it usually doesn’t work that way.
Last weekend I flew to Chicago with the family, which is a four hour flight. On the way out we got up at 3:30 in the morning to catch a 5:45 flight. My 8 year old was so stressed out about getting up at 3:30 that she couldn’t sleep, and got up at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 10:45, 11:00, 11:20 … each time telling me, “Mom, I am only going to get (six, five and half, four …. ) hours of sleep!” Seeing her little stressed-out face was like seeing a miniature reflection of me, and believe me it was an exercise in self-control to try to stay calm and help her relax (“Don’t think about trying to sleep just think about relaxing and how comfortable your body is … “) especially as she would ask me “Mom, are you frustrated?” looking keenly into my face through her tears.
(Through gritted teeth) “No, I’m not frustrated. Now … go … the … fuck … to … sleep!”
No, I didn’t say that. But I’m sure my frustration came through. And I certainly wasn’t doing her or me, or my husband, any favors, lying in bed practically vibrating with it, thinking much the same thing my daughter was thinking. I’m only going to get four hours of sleep …
I used to have a drink before, or during, every flight, if I could possibly find a way to do so. That wouldn’t have been an option for this flight, probably, even in my drinking days. The morning was a mad scramble, and ordering wine from the flight attendant at 6:30 in the morning would have been a tad conspicuous even if I wasn’t with my family.
So, Chicago was great, but before I knew it, it was time to fly back. This time our flight was in the evening, and we got to the airport early and had dinner at the airport. We ate at a sit-down restaurant, and we were seated, of course, right next to the bar. The full bar. All those bottles. The people at the next table were drinking wine, and the smell drifted over.
I had motive. And opportunity. If my husband hadn’t been there, I don’t know if I would have ordered that drink. I feel like I might have. As it was, I spent the meal in a state of resentment and frustration. At this restaurant they cover all the tables with paper and give you crayons if you have kids. The girls asked me to draw something, and I drew an alien. And a dog. Then I started drawing hearts to form a grid, 5×5, in different colors. How pretty. Except with each row of five, I was grimly chanting in my head: Give. Me. a. Damn. Drink.
I’m sure I was a delightful companion.
So all that’s over now. That was last weekend. Back to normal, right? I’m not sure. I have a feeling of being back at square one, and I don’t like it. I think it was maybe too easy to quit before, and I didn’t develop as many tools as I should have. The tools I did develop were this blog, being mindful, and exercise. So I’m turning to this blog first, and writing this post. What else?