13 January 2010

Thoughts In Flight

Warning, this post is unvarnished stream of consciousness. Not everything I write is a cleanly packaged legal brief.

Sometimes I think I'm entirely too serious. I spend so much of my time wrestling with legal and business and philosophical and theological problems that it can be hard to shift gears and relax. As a single gay dad who travels on business more often than Larry Craig hits the restroom, it's almost impossible to start--let alone maintain--any reasonable post-coming out social life because I'm not in one place long enough or consistently enough to make the effort worthwhile. This means that when I'm not with the twins, and it's after hours, I tend to continue to work on this or that legal project or research or document drafting. The TVs in my hotel rooms gather dust. I live on my iPhone and laptops (yes, plural). Even on planes when I could be just reading a book or dozing or enjoying the view out the window, what do I do? Gotta stay productive! Write, write, write. It is incredibly difficult to turn the brain off at night; about the only thing that'll do it is one of a handful of total escape movies. And of course, as I type this I'm watching out of the corner of my eye the cutest flight attendant I've seen in a long time, passing out pretzels and peanuts. He's got biceps the size of tree trunks, a friendly smile, gracefully chiseled jaw, and a form-fitting white polo shirt that clings to pecs which do not occur in nature but can only be the result of thousands of hours at the gym. Another reminder of what's out of reach. Sigh.

I have now been doing this commute to work by plane thing for almost a year. My family comes from Scotland and the Celtic wanderlust is well-known, so I generally like traveling. But I think I'm approaching satiation. I will actually be at home for four full days this time before heading out again for nearly two weeks of travel, and by now I'm so much on auto-pilot that I think it'll be strange to consciously tell myself I don't have to pack again and leave within 24 hours. (Damn, I never knew watching somebody just hand out drinks from a tray could be so entertaining.) I will be glad to settle down at home again and take a breather when this engagement is finally over. Don't get me wrong, in today's economy I am very grateful to be in demand at a place like Apple. I know I'm extraordinarily blessed. But it has come at a price. I've had to give up time with my kids, time for myself, a lot of sleep, time on the beaches I love, time with friends. Time I could have spent exploring the brave new world I entered about 16 months ago. Oh boy, here he comes again. That new world which Mr. Heaven In A White Shirt teases me with, unknowingly. Could any straight boy actually look like that, choose that short, butch hair cut? Oh good, he finished that tray just short of my row, that means he's coming back. This is pathetic. I need to get settled down at home again and start socializing instead of living in this virtual world all the time. See what I mean about being too serious?

Maybe it's rugby deprivation. With all this travel, I haven't been able to resume playing since my broken arm healed. I miss it. Being out there on the pitch for three hours twice a week, pushing myself to the limit of physical endurance, running and passing that ball and yelling to teammates and slamming into tackles and shoving with every ounce of strength in mauls and scrums (and wrapping arms around the occasional teammate's butt, okay, okay, that too) fills up something primal inside that nothing else has ever satisfied quite so deeply. That's definitely one thing I'll be glad to resume when all this travel stops. Assuming the next assignment doesn't require me to be away from home on practice nights (which is already looking like a possibility. Damn).

Batting cages are a short-term solution. Maybe I should take the twins out miniature golfing tomorrow night someplace where I could whack a bunch of baseballs too. Planning our summer vacation helps a bit but that's still months and months off. Lots to slog through before then.

Amazing clouds on approach to San Diego. Like translucent puffy cotton balls in a big blanket, lit from underneath by a soft golden glow. And they don't sort of peter out either, they just stop half a mile inland and it's clear city lights. I fumble with my iPhone to try to snap a pic but they're out of range before the thing turns back on. Oh well. I love it when the plane banks and I tip against the window and look straight down. Weird to think that I feel totally safe yet there's less than six inches of metal and glass between me and certain death. Again, see what I mean about being entirely too serious? I can't even get out of the plane without client text messages and resuming phonecalls to schedule more meetings. Commercial leases and trademark litigation this time.

If I have my way, after this assignment's over, I'm gonna take at least a week, maybe two, and go do something totally different. Something someplace new. Hike the Cascades, maybe. Take a cruise to Mexico? Go hang out in New York? I'm gonna need somethin' to de-tox and de-stress before the next round starts. I need to relax. I need to do something wacky to unwind and get some balance back. I worry that right now I'm coming across to everyone as some ponderous stentorian stick in the mud. Somebody unutterably boring. I'm not like that, really. Somewhere inside I know there is still the kid who put a tack on his 5th grade teacher's chair, who with two classmates carried his high school music director through the hall of the administration building and stuffed him in a trash can outside the principal's office, who conspired with a college classmate to concoct and post a whole set of fake finals grades and caused havoc in the halls as a result, and who turned a law firm colleague's entire office--desk, bookshelves, books, everything--upside down early in the morning one April Fool's Day. I need to get him back.

Dang, there goes that flight attendant onto the hotel shuttle. Wish I could follow him. At least I'm going home though. For a few days at least.


boskers said...

I loved this post! And you don't sound boring! It really reveals your human side. :)

Anonymous said...

Watch it! My Dad is a very attractive flight attendant, slightly effeminate, doesn't wear a wedding ring, but happily married for 39 years.
NO, you can't have his number. :)

BB said...

First Senator Graham and now a hot flight attendant. Sounds like I need to fly more!

Gay Mormon said...

LOL! I used to travel multiple times a week for work and absolutely loved the time I was able to spend people watching. I saw some of the cutest guys imaginable while flying. Gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "flying high". Did you cop a photo with your iphone?