I took Son the Elder to the airport yesterday.
When faced with the fork in the road, yesterday's journey took the car under the "departures" sign.
See, there in the distance. Arriving, or departing?
Smacked me pretty hard, looking up. There was no choice. Just a direction.
These days, you can't go to the gate with passengers. One must simply perform a most unceremonious curbside drop and run, under the piercing stare of traffic attendants who are intent upon making sure that there is not ONE BREACH of homeland security on their watch. So you are forced to put on your most winning smile, whilst strapped in to your automobile, and say a hurried goodbye to the departing one(s).
There is no friendly last call from the conductor. No "All abooaaard! All aboard who's getting aboard!" A door shuts, you move back onto the circle. And try to remember to shoot yourself out of it at the entrance/exit.
"Lady, move it."
So I left the airport, and as I headed through the out door that is the airport highway spur, an incoming plane dared descend directly toward me. Arriving. I leave, one of many. It arrives, one of many. Life has these habits of putting my singular self into perspective. I start banking on the interchange to get onto the tollway, and BANG! a billboard with Marc Jacobs entertaining himself appears immediately in front of me. Fortunately, the angle of the turn is fairly acute, and I don't have do think about Marc's exploding metal for long. I head home.
The music on the radio is at that level Son the Younger calls "Mom is Not Listening." I'm not. I'm paying more attention to the hum of the tires, the drone of the bass, the awareness that part of my brain is doing its thinking-thinking-observing-thinking thing, but there is another part, very silent.
I realize my scarf is getting wet. It's cold around here. Scarves are required, even in cars, especially when you've got all settings to functional levels but nothing to overwhelm. I wipe my jawline and drive on. I'm not sad. Not in the thinking-thinking part of my brain.
The visit was great. Lots of laughter. Plenty of old routines, mind you--family scripts are hard to rewrite--but the old routines aren't all bad. Just funny to note that people have slipped into their roles. And yet, are now shaking them up. One of the monkeys fell out of bed. We're all rolling over.
So this all brings me back to vintage perfume. I've talked about it before. I refuse to turn my head away. I am a knowledge omnivore. I'm also a bit of a mashochist, apparently...gadZOOKS! some of those things make me yank my head away from my skin as if I were a cobra doing a reverse strike. Stinky. Stanky. Insta-headache. But when they're good...and especially good in a way I would never have met otherwise...totally worth it.
I don't cry over "I'll never have any more!" (Okay, not much.) But, really; if you're not madly huffing all that you can get your hands on, if you're taking your time moving down the path into the forest, because you fell down the rabbit hole and that was all so fastfastfast and you've already gone through the phase of grabbing as much as you can as you fall because it's all so beautiful or interesting or might be and it's going by so quickly and you don't know if you've heard of it before and might it be like that green one you just tried and oh my somebody said this one was fabulous hurry up and try it here's one that is promising hurry hurry hurryhurry, if you've already gone through that, well, then, the blur is over.
And you are in one of those moments when you realize you'll never grab it all. Mistakes will be made. But, by gum, if you breathe...if you allow yourself to breathe, and take something in, and let others pass you on the left...well...you'll enjoy *that* moment. And you'll have it. Always. Later, you'll be able to turn the radio on to a nearly discernible volume, and let the hum of the tires add to the music, and remember what it smelled like.
Maybe you'll even have the memory of it on your scarf.
photo not author's own (I was driving, silly); find it at Virtual Tourist
an article on the effect of smelling women's tears: ScienceMag