Last Wednesday I had to fly out to LA for a couple of days of consulting work. The amount of travel probably out did the number of hours spent in work but it was a great time as I got to meet up with people I have been working with for months now but never actually seen in person. LA was hot but actually had clear skies and I must say I longed to be heading over to the beach or hitting the theme parks with the children as we usually do there. This is one of only two times that I have left the two little ones and three days was hard enough without taking any longer time for relaxation.

I have to say though that as much as I love “being” in new places, I am beginning to dislike the “going” to new places. Travel, specifically airline travel, is just no fun. I understand the need for security but when you accidentally leave half a bottle of water in your bag it seems overdone to notch the interrogation and disgusted looks up to criminal activity level. And having the metal detector machine go off as you walk through with only 3 items of clothing already ON leaves you to wonder how much else you should be leaving off prior to flying. I’m only glad the potential UK bomber was using shoes and not underwear to hide explosives in. Imagine the interesting scenes we would be having now!

And when you finally hit the gate, having listened to an unintelligent but head splittingly loud intercom, you may be admonished to “WAIT OVER THERE” because you unwittingly tried to enter at the mumbled call for zone 10 and you are (gasp) zone 11!

Once on the plane you stagger down a sardine-can aisle giving internal prayers to any and all gods you so summon that the seat next to you will be empty or at least a noninvasive person in it. For my 4 hour flight segment this time I had the gods apparently against me when I had to hunker down sideways to try and squeeze into my seat from which about one third of the (already Tinkerbell proportioned) seat had been claimed by a woman whose weight I wouldn’t want to estimate (let’s just say big gal). She and her equally large window seat companion were I am sure delightful but, (and this could simply be my British roots coming through) I find it very hard to have someone else’s thigh, back and arms pushing me against my arm rest. There is something too personal about that level of touch at first meeting. I honestly feel great compassion for people of all weights and don’t want to sound discriminatory but if I cannot have the arm rest down (her body was too large to allow this) and I am forced to rest sideways with half of my body leaning against someone else’s for four hours of an overpriced airplane ride then I do think guidelines should be in place. It’s a tricky situation for the airlines given lawsuits and existing bad press but given the projected size changes for the next decades it doesn’t seem as if the situation is going to (dare I say it) shrink.

I will say I was somewhat cheered to hear my row companions’ self assurance despite their larger sizes. They entertained by loudly discussing the various people in the movie and subsequent advertisements with statements of “I’d ‘do’ him; would you?” Their range and lack of discrimination was quite amazing, with members of the Blue Man group equally included. I quietly read my book and tried not to let my mind wander.

OK rant over. And I am happy to report the flight home was much improved on that account; I think anyway. I was heading back on the red eye and determined to attempt sleep for at least 3.5 of the 4 hours, I took a Dramamine pill and thus have little memory of the flight. The only sad thing was I took it before the drive to the airport only to discover that on the return path the company had kindly sent a stretch limo to take my work partner and I back. We were both so exhausted (and I was doped up) that we couldn’t even muster the energy to press all the myriad buttons in the back seat and our exit in front of large, staring crowds at the airport probably fell short of their hoped for star sightings. Two rumpled, working moms bracing for long flights home to bouncy kids was probably disappointing.

And travel aside, the trip was very good. I spent 2 full days in the company of some fantastic women, all of whom are incredibly talented writers and artists and moms. The creative energy they produce towards helping young children learn through joy and excitement (and sound pedagogy) is wonderful and I am so honored to be a part of this team. Life is pretty darn good.