The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The reunion...farewells
After dinner, we stay up and finally watch Ray. The movie is great - I can understand why Jamie Foxx won an Academy Award, even if some of the facts were fudged a bit to make the film more acceptable to movie-goers. Allison and Stephen start to fade before the end of the movie, and leave. They have work the next day, but it was nice that they stayed for as long as they could. I am still upset that I haven't heard from Chris. I have visions of car accidents and police. I tell myself that he's fallen asleep after a long day.

Finally, it's past midnight and I head off to bed. I hope that I hear from Chris tomorrow.

It's Friday. We have to head to the airport this afternoon, but before we do, we make one last trip to the Odd Lots store to pick up Creole spices to take back to Australia with us. Creole spice isn't something you can find easily. Apparently, it's not that easy to find Creole spice in Connecticut either, so we settle on Cajun.

I pick up another Halloween decoration. It's a jack-o-lantern lamp. There's no way this stuff is ever going to fit into our suitcases, but Mom is generous and offers to post everything that won't fit, back to us.

I shop for Andy. Mom tells me that he needs socks. Andy's socks are full of holes and he won't spend any money to replace them. Andy thinks his disability money is "fun money." I buy him six pairs of socks. I also buy him sock and hand warmers, thinking he is going to have a tough time this winter when he has to move out of my mother's house. I also buy him some warm gloves. I want to find a hat for him, but they don't have any winter hats in stock. Andy doesn't need a baseball cap.

We get back to the house and start packing. I give Andy his things and give him $20 and tell him it's for a hat. In the back of my mind I know he will probably blow it at McDonald's, but at least I try. I tell him to make sure he checks into the local shelter if his subsidized apartment isn't ready - but I know he will get on a bus at the first opportunity, and go somewhere warm for the winter. In a different era, he would have been a hobo, living near the railroad. It's not a lifestyle I would choose, but it's the one he's comfortable with.

Chris calls. I'm so relieved to hear from him. I was right - he had fallen asleep. He came home from work and lied down - just for 20 minutes. 20 minutes turned into five hours. We chat on the phone for a half an hour and discuss his personal problems. I offer advice and financial help. Once you're a parent, you never stop worrying. He promises to stay in touch better.

The hire car comes to get us after lunch. I hug my mother goodbye. Our bags are loaded and we're off. I take one last lingering look at my mother standing in her front yard, and wave from inside the car. I hope she's seen me. Again - it's raining. I'm feeling depressed - the rain matches my mood. We drive past the old New York World's Fair observation towers and Shea stadium. They're icons. I can't believe we have to leave.

We get to JFK. The first thing that we find out is that our flight is delayed due to the inclement weather - again. This is turning into a habit. Our 5:30pm flight just became a 9pm flight. We're given a dinner voucher, at least, and go to the only real sit down restaurant in the concourse, once we're past the security checkpoint. We want steak. They're out of steak. We want Thai chicken. They're out of Thai chicken. We settle on things that aren't nearly as appetizing and the service is slow, but we can't blame them. They're stuck with a bunch of Qantas passengers that they weren't expecting.

It's after 9pm. We're finally on the plane. The trip is long, but it's made longer by the presence of a screaming toddler with parents who don't know how to calm her down. They let her scream all the way to Los Angeles. I hope against hope that the family is disembarking in L.A. We've got a four hour layover in L.A. The screaming toddler doesn't go away. The family gets back on the plane to Sydney. The screaming toddler keeps everyone in our section of the plane awake for most of the trip. I feel sorry for the parents. Andy was one of those irritable, fretful toddlers who would never be calmed. I wonder if they have another Andy in the making.

The flight is made worse by the fact that I've got restless leg syndrome and it's decided to act up on the flight. I can't sit still or get comfortable. I've seen all the movies that are on offer, on the first flight over. The screaming toddler wakes me every time I nod off. I never thought I would be happy to touch down in Sydney - but I heave a huge sigh of relief when we get off the plane. We're back, and it all seems surreal. Maybe that's why I live here. It's far-removed from the reality "back home;" the money problems, the job dilemmas, the relationship issues, and health issues. But damn, I miss everyone within minutes. I start planning the next reunion.
posted by Melanie O. at 8:42 PM -
  • At 11:17 PM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    The screaming infant reminds me what my friend Ted did when his children acted up on the plane. (He was the pilot.) He gave them a teaspoon of paragoric...a narcotic now by prescription only. The kids fell asleep. If He didn't have the "cough syrup" available, He and His wife put on oxygen masks. He took the plane up where the oxygen level was low...and the kids fell asleep. Works all the time! Ted drugged his children..and I approve. Sorry that you had to endure the screaming. The mother could have given the child benedryl. It might work the same way. Perhaps the child's ears hurt from change of air pressure. So, carry benedryl on your next trip and save your sanity.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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