Monday, July 26, 2010

Who's in My Seat?

Air travel is always an interesting experience for me. In the past year I've flown to Virginia, Orlando, and DC on various carriers and connecting in random cities. Pre-September 11, flying was a lot more enjoyable. Security allowed friends to actually meet you at the didn't have to disrobe prior to boarding...the amount of liquids in your carry-on luggage wasn't measured. But, even with all the hassles of traveling, I've enjoyed passing the time by watching people. I like to imagine their stories....where are they going? it for personal or business? Everyone has a story to tell and my imagination runs wild.

Unfortunately, I'm not the normal social butterfly on flights as I am on the ground. Normally by the time I buckle in, I'm just about out...asleep. I should use this opportunity to meet my seat mates, and there have been some interesting folks I have met along my life of travels in between my snoozing. I flew to Rochester, NY, transferring in Chicago the day after the University of Kentucky won the NCAA basketball championship. As I proudly donned my blue UK shirt, I felt like enlisted military as everyone almost saluted...well, not really, but they smiled and nodded like they just encountered royalty. I flew from Atlanta to San Francisco sitting next to Carlos Santana's cousin. He was a real hoot...and very intrigued I was from Kentucky. He said, "It's so green and lush there." Last November during the east coast Nor'easter that flooded a majority of the coastal area, I flew into Newport News, Virginia. Without a delay at all, I flew right in without a problem. I had more trouble staying dry getting in my ride to leave than our plane had getting there. The trek there initiated a lot of great conversations with people that had no idea what we would face once we landed.

I recently read this blog post "The Sky Stories of Seat 10D." A sales VP, who clearly travels a lot, has decided to conduct an experiment. He bought a nice leather-like journal and wrote his story on why he was traveling in the front of the book, along with his Twitter handle, e-mail and other contact info. He's asked the future occupants of seat 10D to leave the journal in the seat back pocket and enter in their story...where are they going?...why?..who are they? And, has asked them to contact him so he can write about the adventures of this little journal. This is about the coolest idea I've heard in a long time. If those airplane seats could talk. This reminds me of that Where's George? site where people log the serial numbers of their dollar bills to track the travels of their currency. The oddity and quirky-ness of me just finds this airport seat notebook experiment fascinating.

Now I'm contemplating what I can do similar to track future travelers on my trips. Maybe I'll leave a journal in my hotel room at my next destnation and see if others will journal and contact me via Twitter about their trips. Or, maybe I'll just follow in this brilliant sales VP's footsteps and do the same...leave a notebook in the seat pocket of my next airplane ride and see what happens. The fantasizing romancer in me can visualize the coolest of stories that could be turned into the greatest of novels. This from a girl who wrote a soldier deployed during Desert Storm hoping for a romance to start similar to the love story of my parents. Sadly, I never heard from him. I'm convinced he died in combat and that was my husband to be. Ahh, but I digress. I've got a few months before my next flight...plenty of time to devise an intriguing experiment to meet the world...all from my airplane seat.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Full of GLEE

I just finished watching the first half of Season 1 of the FOX show, GLEE. Typically I'm a late adopter to the hip and new shows. Mad Men was the last show I got wind of before it debuted and actually became a fan when the world was just finding out about its uniqueness. But I'd heard so many people rave about GLEE and when I heard a few 80s songs from the GLEE cast, I was intrigued. My friend, Amy, decided that our summer project was to catch up on the show, but alas, the second half of Season 1 just ended and won't be on DVD until September 24. Hmmm, Hulu, here we come!

For those of you who have been living under a rock and don't know about the show, it is replete with unique and quirky characters. There is Will Schuester (sigh...) the Spanish teacher who was a Glee Club member in his high school days and is given the daunting task of leading this unrespected group of singers. Will is also married to a quite strange woman who can't work more than four hours a week, thinks Will needs to get a better-paying job, and fakes a pregnancy. There is Sue Sylvester....the woman you love to hate. The sassy coach of the cheerleading squad (The Cheerios) who spews biting comments to anyone in her path, especially Will. I love me crazy...but Sue has revealed some soft sides, which makes me a bit endeared to her. Then there is Emma Pillsbury. The school counselor who is a germaphobe and quite attracted to Mr. Schu. Like all good counselors, she sees potential in him and how much better he can be...and even is the one to keep him leading Glee Club when he is about to bail.

But of all the characters in the show, the kids of Glee are the ones that make my heart melt each week. (Aside from my Emma-like crush on Mr. Schu, of course) Every member of Glee are those kids in high school everyone made fun of....or Gleeks, as they are called on the show. They can't walk down the high school hallways without getting slushies thrown in their faces. There is Rachel...the daughter of two gay dads and the butt of the cheerleaders' taunting. There is Artie...a wheelchair-bound singer who doesn't let his wheels keep him from dancing. He's found acceptance in Glee, more than he ever had before. Mercedes is the full-figured African American teen who can belt a song like Aretha or Whitney. But because she doesn't have the figure of a Cheerio, she's not Miss Popular either. Mercedes befriends Kurt, the homosexual member of Glee. His mother died when he was young leaving his father to raise him. Acceptance is found in his Glee family. I could go on...Quinn, the pregnant teenager, ex-Cheerio...Finn, the football star turned singer...Puck, the bad boy with talent.

The show is full of drama. Just reading these short bios indicates that these people are a breeding ground for drama. But it's reality, folks. The world is full of stories just like these. You are surrounded by people just like these. Though I don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle...nor pre-marital sex that leads to Quinn's current predicament, my heart goes out to people who walk similar roads. Oh, how we all wish our lives were so nice and buttoned up that the journey was easy and smooth. But the road ahead is normally full of pot holes and speed bumps and if we aren't grabbing to the steering wheel strong enough, we can veer off into places we don't need to go. Then we find ourselves like these kids...unloved, made fun of, and slushies in our faces.

For all of Mr. Schu's faults and sins, I love him (beyond the fact that he is cute, sings and dances) because he sees potential in those most have no time for. As I live and strive to imitate Christ, I can't but love those who are unlovable. For I, too, have been a Gleek in my life and found the love of Christ through those who loved me beyond myself. It reminds me of the passage in Matthew, where Jesus says "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." May I never forget that truth...and always have a towel handy at my side to wipe away the slushies...and the tears...from the faces of hurting people.