Monday, May 14, 2018

Relief Area - searching for solace in these fleeting moments

I have spent the week in Ontario, CA, just outside Los Angeles.
A week of work.

I made the mistake of not bringing my CPAP, thinking with the lack of allergens and some nose plugs to keep my nasal passage open I would do well enough.
I should have brought my CPAP.

I did alright but I would have slept better, I know, if I had been using it. And I don't know that it would be that much better in sleep, or that I am so accustomed to using it now.

So, I managed to get pretty decent fare for flights into/out of Ontario International instead of going through LAX (which would mean: 1. LAX and 2. an at least 2 hour drive from LAX to Ontario depending on traffic (in my experience (and yes, I love to nest parenthesis))).

The biggest caveat of this plan is my return flight.
I had a choice of flying out 1am Saturday morning to arrive home ultimately around noon.
Or fly out later sometime Saturday(and I don't remember the times, because I went with the former option above) and get home more around midnight Saturday.

It's an almost obvious choice.

I thought it would be easy to fill the time after work was done for the day and my departure.

Yeh, well, I'm ansy. I did my best after 4pm to kill some time. Walked around Target, Staples, and Sam' Club(I know, I'm quite adventurous, right?).

Ok, well, time was dragging by. I figured I might as well head to the airport. I meandered my way to the rental car return, getting there shortly after 6pm(I think. I'm tired and the logic is fuzzy).

The first shock was when I went to get my tickets and check my bag. There was only one teller (is this the proper title of this person?) and she said she couldn't check my bag until 7pm. By this time, lazily waiting for the shuttle to the airport and taking the longest walking routes without being weird) it is about 10 til.

I go sit down next to the other person on this end of the airport waiting for 7.
7 comes, I check my bag, wind my way through the maze of ribbons and posts that turn space into chaos(though I think their intention is the opposite. And again, this is my experience).
Through the TSA line (there was no one ahead of me. No one behind. I'm digging this airport).
I walk the terminal up and down, checking it out.

There's a weird sign with a dog that I don't recall seeing anywhere before. Next to the dog it reads "Relief Area". I follow the arrows.
To my amazement and amusement, there is a small plot of AstroTurf with a tiny fire hydrant in the corner of the terminal along with all the poop scooping accessories one might need to clean up this endeavor.
I take pictures (later, when I feel like it's not so weird. I'm really trying to not be weird.)

I sit down to mourn the cancellation of Brooklyn Nine-nine, rejoicing at the news that it might get picked up somewhere else (Hulu and some other is rumored to be interested).
I see that two other shows I really like have been axed: The Brave and The Expanse.

Trying to navigate on my phone to the comments I see another headline.
The lead singer of the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit, Scott Hutchison, had been found dead.
I really like Frightened Rabbit.  I really connected with Midnight Organ Fight.
I sat in the airport and cried a little as I read through the article.

I called my wife to tell her about the shows, then break the news about Mr. Hutchison.
We mourn a little together.

I decide to listen to some F.R. Listening through their top songs playlist on Google Play.

The terminal is half-empty as it gets late. I listen sitting down. I pace up and down the terminal.
I feel like this is a fitting motif for the songs. A playlist of empty airports.
Like a phone ringing in an empty house.

I try to remember how I even heard of this band in the first place. I remember the time period. I remember listening to Midnight Organ Fight at my desk. Telling one of my friends about the band.

I think they were listed as a 'similar artist' to the Kooks, who I had been listening to at the time, on some music listening service. How did I even listen to music then(there have been so many platforms for doing this in the last 10 years, I honestly don't recall)?

Near the end of the list I buy a cup of premium coffee from a coffee vending machine.
Premium coffee (flavored water). It was fitting. I drank the coffee.

Time passed. The playlist ended. That was a handful of minutes ago as I'm writing these words here.


I made it home. My wife picked me up at the airport and was nice enough to drive back while I snoozed in the passenger seat.
It's roughly a two hour drive.
I am grateful. I try and make sure to appreciate the things like that. You don't always have that.

Life is full of twists, turns.. surprises. And not all of them good.
Often, the good is mundane and easily overlooked. But those small things are what holds each moment together.
It is my hope that learning to appreciate those things will help us all hold it all together.
Without those little moments it can all get so dark.