Sitting in St. Louis’s Lambert Airport on Monday morning as I type on my laptop, watching fellow passengers gather at my gate. Surprisingly, some people are actually sitting and talking with their neighbors, rather than burying their noses in cell phones or tablets. One woman is reading a book. As in, the kind made out of paper.
But plenty of others are typing on laptops, like me, or talking business on smartphones (loudly—don’t they know others are listening?) or texting or checking emails or playing games on tablets. There are comfy armchairs next to electrical outlets to accommodate all our gizmos. I have managed to get everything into my carry-on and purse, so no worries ahead about losing luggage. I’m getting better at air travel since my trip here last year, when my return flight connected through JFK and my checked bag disappeared for 24 hours.
Despite Midwest heat and humidity, the sky is robin’s egg blue with puffy cumulous clouds. A pleasant end to a lovely weekend with my older sister and family, including a visit to the exquisite St.Louis Art Museum, great meals featuring my brother-in-law’s home-grown vegetables, an al fresco Italian dinner, Shabbat services at a local congregation that felt just like home, sharing the Cardinal’s ups and downs against the Pirates and the Brewers, a Sunday brunch with friends, the World Cup finale, and a drizzly performance of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the outdoor Muny Opera (one hour rain delay halfway through Act 1, and the show was cancelled before the last three songs due to approaching thunderstorms, but even so, the music and acting were terrific).
The highlight of our weekend together was hearing my sister, a talented flutist, perform wonderful music with her woodwind quintet at a local bistro. That, and sharing old family stories. “Are you making that up?” she asked me, laughing, since I can always remember more about the past than she, even as we’re both getting a bit fuzzy about recent events. Ah, the power of longterm memory.
Travel remains a challenge—inevitably, the bandages on my finger ulcers get messy and loose, and I need to manage my energy and joints. Getting through security is exhausting, with all the lifting and sorting, organizing purse, shoes, laptop in gray rectangular buckets and then reorganizing everything quickly so as not hold up the person behind me. But fellow travelers have been very helpful, especially with hoisting my bag into the overhead storage bin and retrieving it. And so far, no one’s been too pushy or impatient.
I also decided to pay extra to fly direct this time, to save wear and tear on my body. Definitely the way to go, when possible. So much less stressful, all around.
Best of all (though perhaps I’m tempting fate, here), I have not gotten sick on this trip as on previous ventures in the recent past. No infected ulcers. No cellulitis. No cold virus. No eye infection. No rotten tooth. My worst physical ailment has been reduced hearing and stuffy ears for about 12 hours after landing. All good, and encouraging.
Travel doesn’t always have to mean setting myself back. It can just mean having a great visit with my Big Sis.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.