Friday, January 2, 2009

Bossy Betty Puts Down the Landing Gear and Makes Her Final Foray Into Travel-Induced Introspection

Not only is HOB (Husband of Betty) a delightful person, he is also a proud member of the Big Shot Million-Jillion Miles Per Year Silver/Gold/Platinum, I-Fly-More-Than-You-Do Club of American Airlines.  As  such, he gets upgraded quite frequently to First Class and then gets another First Class seat for one member of our family.  

You would think I would be the one sitting up with him, but we rotate this "honor" among us.  To be honest, the thought of the parents sitting up in first class and the offspring (even older ones like ours) back in Coach gives me the heebee jeebees.  It's just a little too much of a John Cheever short story detached-and-disconnected-isolated-suburban parents scenario for me.  Also, I harbor the secret plan that if the plane ever crashed, I would, in a final act of parental sacrifice, fling my body to the ground just before my child's body hit the exact same place, thereby creating a human life-saving non-bouncy trampoline of sorts that would cushion the child's fall, saving his life.  (Creating a lot of therapy bills, after he discovered that the smashed and bloody corpse beneath him was his own mother, her death probably caused by the impact of his body, but hey, he'd be alive, psychologically wounded for life, but alive nonetheless.)

So, it was Sonny Boy and Dan up in First Class this time around, sipping fresh orange juice from crystal goblets while Evan and I made our way to the very back of the plane, hoping that the screaming child in the seat in front of us would be given tranquilizers disguised as NyQuil pronto.  During the flight, they showed a movie and from our vantage point in the back I could see a total of seven screens hanging from the ceiling, all simultaneously showing the same scenes, but what sent Betty's mind into overdrive was that the colors and hues on the screens differed one from another, some slightly and some significantly.  

Perhaps it was a lack of oxygen in the cabin or maybe I was sitting in an air pocket of the plane in which the pressurization system was not penetrating, but seeing all these screens with their differences caused Betty's mind to buy a ticket on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the Brain County Fair and go for a ride.  Sitting there looking at the screens, I thought about how many times in life we are convinced that the way we see things is the only way to see things.  So often we assume that our view is the correct one, not understanding that another person is looking at the exact same scene, believing that the colors they see are the same as ours and yet they are very different.  

Suddenly, I felt sorry for those people in those front rows.  They had no choice but to believe that the colors they saw were the true ones.  They had no other reference points.  They were like the unhappy wife who stays in a loveless marriage because her parents did the same and, isolated in her world, she sees only the washed-out colors of her life. However, if she could see the rich colors of a good relationship, she might change her life.  (Oh, Betty's brain wanted to get off the Tilt-A-Whirl, but the drugged-up carnie had his back to the ride, talking to a young girl in a tank top.)  Can you see how this perception we have relates to our beliefs concerning racism, politics, and religion?  We need to sit back and make sure we have a good view of many different screens.  We need to understand, to really get that some people simply have not had the opportunity through experience, education, or exposure, to see any other screens than the one in front of them.

Betty is coming up on a significant birthday very soon.  (Friends and family, get those cards and presents ready!)  Shouldn't aging be an opportunity to move back and get a good view of all those screens and begin to understand the diversity of opinion, to appreciate the variety of perception that exists?   However, doesn't it seem that increasing age often results in the moving up in plane, the focus on a single screen, the insistence that we don't need other views, the narrowing of scope, as if all the subtle hues and and colors are too much to comprehend?  

(Note:  To enhance your reading experience of final paragraph, please begin humming Moving Song now.  Suggestions:

"We Are the World"
"You'll Never Walk Alone"
"In My Father's Eyes"
"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves")

If life is an airplane, let us make it a goal to see at least one more screen every ten years, expanding our scope, until we are at the back of the plane, enjoying the view, with compassion for all those sitting before us, knowing that we are all really First Class passengers when we embrace and understand all the subtle differences in the colors and hues of this world.  


Alyssa said...

Grandma was telling Donna about your significant birthday that is coming up. She told her that you were turning 30. I was quick to point out the error to Grandma. I guess you continue to give off a youthful vibe. Then again, my mother was mistaken as my sister in Marysville, so maybe it's just Kansas people.

Bossy Betty said...

Yes, it could be that preservation brought on by good clean livin'. No need to correct Grandma next time. Quiet, child.

P.S. I hope that niece of yours was permitted to watch "Hamster on a Piano!"

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this. I think this may be my favorite Bossy yet.
peri girl

Bossy Betty said...

Glad you liked it, Peri Girl and Welcome Back!