by the way...

Traveling: Someday I just might get it right


There must be a key to airplane happiness, but I’m still trying to find it. Flying in winter has become a pain. The ice on the wings. The blizzards. The fear of being stranded at the terminal with the food court bereft of food. I wish my Connecticut family would start gathering in July to celebrate Christmas and the five winter birthdays we celebrate in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. But that’ll never happen.

I did learn a few things on my flight back from LaGuardia after the recent holidays:

1. Putting my cell phone in “airplane mode” is good. I do not have to listen to pings alerting me a huge blizzard is coming. I do not hear Teleflora’s ping about great deals on bouquets. Hungry Girl doesn’t provide me with yet another lo-cal turkey bolognese recipe. Coldwater Creek doesn’t scream: “40% OFF!”

2. I discover a new use for mayonnaise. If you had no time to get a sandwich at Whole Foods, then, as you run through the terminal, grab those little packets of condiments to add to the airport’s cardboard-y sandwiches. Mayo is good because it can be used as a facial moisturizer when your face cracks due to the dry cabin.

3. An in-flight magazine says: Get peanuts (protein) if the other choices are pretzels (carbs), or cookies (sugar). Note to Delta: could you branch out please??

I also came up with things to remember when I travel:

1. It’s ridiculous to bring my iPod with its hundreds of songs to walk to. I do not bounce out of bed and walk at 7 a.m., which I fantasize I’ll do as I pack. There’s no time to eat a banana much less go for an invigorating walk when I am with my family.

2. It’s ridiculous to convince my grandchildren to give up sports and learn an instrument. Can’t somebody take up the violin? The piano? Now, don’t get me wrong I’m proud of Kallie’s every lacrosse goal and Schuyler’s smash-backs in squash. (Doubled over in hysterics, she tells me the word is “points” not “smash-backs.”) I relish every swim meet Mackenzie aces... And by the way, here’s a footnote: do you think swimmers get away with a cheap sport? Nope. High school girls who swim for the state must wear a bathing suit that costs between $395 and $500! It takes the girls forever to wriggle into them. Who knew a suit that goes down to your knees could look sexy? (I don’t think that’s the coaches’ goal.) I offered to pay for that swim suit before I knew how expensive it was. Nice grandmother. Big surprise.

3. It’s ridiculous to think I won’t freeze up north in December. I especially freeze waiting for Lily, my tiny, white dog, to do her duty. She is dumbfounded— eyes glazed—at all the snowdrifts and simply stands there.

4. It’s ridiculous to think I’ll take my vitamins when I travel. My body doesn’t know I’m on vacation. But I sure do love taking a break from the stuff I throw down my gullet at home. Just leave ‘em there.

5. It’s ridiculous to think I’ll remember the cable channels in Connecticut. When I climb into bed up there, and press 8 for PBS, it’s not there. I have a hard enough time remembering the Florida stations in Florida. I want to remember the Connecticut station numbers, but that’ll never happen.

Christmas and those five birthdays should not be celebrated in July. If we did switch, what do you bet a hurricane would wreck our plans?