Taking flight

It’s the last day of our vacation, if you can call it that. It’s travel day. It’s my birthday. It kind of sucks. I’ve mentioned before it’s been a while since I’ve traveled, but I sure don’t remember the seats on an airplane being this tight.

Impossibly tight.

Some seats recline, some don’t. It’s a matter of luck of the draw. It’s a matter of matter. Does the person behind you have short legs or long? If they’re long, that seat isn’t going anywhere, unless someone’s femur develops a joint.

My neck really enjoys the seat-backs. They were designed for someone about six inches shorter and with much better posture, forming the business end of a right triangle. It has a nifty headrest that bends at the edges, keeping your head immobilized as you sleep. Too bad for me the head rest pushes ever so gently on my back at about T-7, causing my head to lean forward when the seat is in it’s full, upright position. Fortunately, no one is sitting behind me – so my seat reclines. I don’t have to hold my head up for two hours like a swimmer lifting his head out of water for air.


However, I think my knees will have pressure marks for a week from the magazine pocket. Did I mention the seats were a tight fit?

What airline delivers this kind of comfort at bargain prices? Spirit Airlines.

You get what you pay for.

On a lighter note, the last full day on the shore (yesterday) was everything I could have asked for. There was lots of time to relax. There was lots of time to read. There were lots of opportunities to go snap-snap with my camera. I sat quietly most of the day by the balcony overlooking the shore. Cheryl, bless her heart, took the kids out to spend their last bits of energy before flying home.

It didn’t rain and it wasn’t cloudy, but the surf was up a bit from the hurricanes out in the Atlantic. There were alerts all over the news to refrain from swimming in the Atlantic. However, my brother-in-law and his family couldn’t resist the call of the surf – they went boogie boarding. This was a natural camera moment, watching my 6’1” brother-in-law challenge waves beginning their break a foot or two above his head. They had a great time taking a beating from the sea, and I had a great time taking their pictures.

Twenty minutes later… back on the plane.

Dick-head was just moved by a representative of the airline. Someone complained about Dick-head’s seat-back pressing into his bad knee, and Dick-head’s refusal to sit up. So what does Dick-head do? He moves into the seat in front of the tallest person in our section: me.

Dick-head could have moved into the center seat a row up. There’s no one sitting behind that seat.

But noooo. That’s not how Dick-head rolls.

Meanwhile I have a certain obligation to stay with my family. I could move to a seat a row back, but it involves a trade-off. Another tall person is behind this seat, meaning I couldn’t try to put my seat back, in good conscience.

This is my choice – John’s choice. Sit in a pitched forward position or live with pain in my knees (which I’ll get to in a moment). My neck is already a mess, so I’m sacrificing my knees.

I’m having an outstanding time playing a passive aggressive game of tug of war over seat position. Dick-head tilts his seat back. It moves about an eighth of an inch – approximately the amount of compression possible between seat, skin, fat and bone on a knee attached to one of my legs. Throughout the flight he keeps trying to press back further, looking back at his impediment – my lower half – looking up at me as if I’m the bad guy. Believe me, I’d be shorter right now if it was up to me, Dick-head. I keep shifting my hips, alternating pushing a hip into crook in my seat-back and the crushing pressure on a knee. This serves two purposes. It temporarily relieves some of the pain in one knee, and it concentrates the surface area poking into the back of his seat. Plus, as a bonus it jostles him around a bit when I switch back and forth.

Fuck. This is going to be a long hour and a half. I’m already losing sensation in my toes.

Do you think I’d be looking at criminal charges if swatted the back of his head a few times? Open fisted, of course, I’m a nice guy. That’s the way I roll.

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Ocean City

Hump day usually brings relief to a tired soul. Sometimes you really like your job, but it’s still a job. There are other things you can think of you’d rather do, unless you’re the rare individual who’s found your life’s calling… and it found you too. Or there’s also the exception to the old axiom: you can never get enough of a good thing.

What a crock.

Well, today’s a hump day for me just like it is for you, but in my case the hump more accurately plots my level of enthusiasm.

Today’s the middle day of my first big vacation in years, and it’s gone about as fast as you would expect. From my perspective, it’s gone nearly perfect. Today the only thing I did of note was walk down the boardwalk for some frozen custard (pumpkin cinnamon swirl, if you must know).

Now it’s night again, one of a series of increasing endangered species. Dark and cool… surf and crickets are the only sounds preventing silence. We just had my idea of a perfect evening: a group of family and friends gathered together to talk, exchange funny stories, and just generally enjoy each other’s company.

Now I’m following it up with a perfect nightcap: on the patio out back, listening to the surf, and writing the first words that come to mind (so sorry for that). Saturday we go home, but I’m milking this trip for all it’s worth.

Now I have to admit something to you, but you might already know. I’ve enjoyed this trip more than I thought. When it was presented as the “Jersey Shore,” all I could think about was reality TV and a bunch of buffoons. Instead it’s been quiet. The people have been nice. The boardwalk is quaint and a departure from my normal haunts. Take the frozen custard for example. The shop has been here for a century. Imagine that? Maybe you can, but in Florida eateries come and go like the tourists. My sister’s in laws worked here summers as kids – possibly eating at the same places we ate today – only 40 years ago.

I love it. I love the slow pace. I love waking up in the morning and playing every day by ear. I love that the ear usually doesn’t end up in a car.

For now on I’m not going to think of this special place as the Jersey Shore. Somehow, saying I like the “Jersey Shore” sounds like I prefer the smell of one arm pit over the other.

It’s Ocean City, a place I’ll long remember.

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Sorry, no proof reading this time ;-) Thanks for your patience.

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High altitude

This is my first in-flight post in a long time (as measured in senior Kauffman years).

Pretty exciting stuff, eh? In fact, it’s the most exciting thing in my life since the Lost finale. Heavy stuff, I know.

It’s my first venture outside the state of Florida in the post cancer era. But wait. I gets better. It’s my first real vacation since those hairy celled invaders started clogging the marrow. When I say “real” vacation, I mean multiple, consecutive work days. None of those long weekend pretenders. We’re off for a week to a beachfront rental house on the Jersey Shore with my sister and my brother-in-law’s family.

It promises to be a week of relaxing in the cooler temperatures of the northeast, water’s edge hikes on the beach, and walks on the boardwalk.

The forecast highs are nearly twenty degrees cooler than home – thirty if you count the heat index. It’ll be WAY to frigging cold to actually go in the water. A west-coast Floridian rarely sees beach water cooler than 80F. Walking the shore is what my soul craves.

I might even throw in a bike rental to satisfy my two wheeled jones.

I’m hoping to have plenty of time to meditate, JK style – camera in hand, thinking about the perfect picture.

I rarely find it, but it’s the process I find relaxing not the results. That’s just icing.

I hope all of you out there have great week. I may still be around – time and thumbs permitting.