Thursday, June 3, 2010

On The Road With Ellie Mae

My inner Hick was showing this morning, She always rears her tow-headed close set eye self in big cities I’ve never lived. The place I live has a bit of a sprawl to it but nothing like Los Angeles. We broke through the clouds and there were rooftops and roads which seemed endless. When ever I fly into a city thinking about how many people each large building houses overwhelms me and makes me realize how small I really am. LAX is one of the few airports in the middle of a large city which adds to my disorientation when I first arrive after having been in the lovely blue void above the earth, having had nothing to see except brown, green yellow patchwork or in this case the ruffled edges of the canyons and desert. This morning I awakened just in time to see the Grand Canyon. I’ve only been to see it once when I was about five and have flown over it several times. Flying above the desert beyond the canyon and into California is peaceful. The topography is varied in ways you can only see from the air and aren’t aware of when you are in the middle of it. I think the art created by the wind shifting the sand is best appreciated from above. That the city of angels was covered in morning clouds added to the abruptness of the change in scene. The weather this morning in Southern California was more like a balmy day in San Francisco; a little humid and coolish. My favorite type. We didn’t have enough time to leave the airport and venture to Hermosa Beach like I had hoped but we had a leisurely lunch and I explored Tom Bradley International Terminal: slack-jawed, with an Ellie Mae Clampett dialogue running through my head.

Oh the places you could go from that airport! Taipei! Dubai! Tel Aviv! Frankfurt! Mexico City! Santiago! It was all so marvelous to think of such places tied together by one--relatively--small place. We were watching the people in line: Israelis speaking Hebrew which sounds beautiful even it‘s a list of the day‘s errands and marketing; , beautiful Middle-Eastern women dressed impeccably in Western dresses (I wondered if they would veil once they arrived in Dubai) , large Asian families as varied in dress as any family at an airport in the Midwest. The Girl astutely noted how the six degrees of separation could probably be played with any number of the quell waiting to go through security. I loved hearing the assortment of languages around me. I remembered the first time that happened to me.

Years ago, my sister lived in Los Angeles, on a hill overlooking the Pacific ocean that featured Catalina
\\Island on clear days. It was breathtaking even for a 13 year old who worked nonstop to hide Ellie Mae under a veneer of distain and disinterest. When it was time to return home, I remember being in awe of the people in the airport. My world was pretty limited to Upper Middle Class White Folks. So seeing Africans and Asians was heady stuff. The day I left LA, my flight was late or we were early and had extra time so we walked to the international area and wandered around the terminal watching the people. I remember it was the first time I had seen a woman in a sari and I thought it was the most elegant thing I had ever seen: a silk evening gown you just wore like a skirt and a blouse. I still sigh a tiny sigh when I see a woman in a sari.

Now I’m seated in Business Class, having just finished my Bi-Bim-Bab that came with a tube of Hot Red Pepper Paste , freeze dried anchovies and boiled pumpkin. Having never had traditional Korean food (outside of BBQ) it was a very good meal. I’m sure the well seasoned road warriors out of Seoul find the food just terrible and say things like we say: “Oh God why do they bother at all!” I passed on the tube of hot pepper paste and the only reason I don’t have a picture of my Bi-Bim-Bab brochure is I can’t figure out a delicate way to actually photograph it. “Lookit lookit, it’s got a pitcher of my food on it. Dang, we ain’t in Colarada no more are we, Girl! Hooo doggies!”

We didn’t book our trip in Business Class and I’m not sure how it happened but what a rare treat. I’m thinking it’s paybacks for the last few days at home. The last night reached a crescendo when I got a call asking if I had a very sweet white dog named Kipper.

Kipper was supposed to be next door. He was three blocks away and when we picked him up, he was terribly proud he had ran so far and wasn’t coughing and panting. My guess is he slept all day today; fresh and tired from his own adventure.

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