Tossing the clothes in the dryer after an extremely long day at the beach, an excursion meant to make our summer feel like summer vacation. It felt more like hell.
It was burning hot, crowded, and smelly. So, when my beautiful Ray-Bans emerged in a twisted mess, the screams of terror and the ensuing tears amplified my established upset.
Those shiny, metallic-blue Ray-Bans landed in my hands when we visited Catalina Island off the coast of California last summer. My mother insisted on buying them for me even though I told her they were too expensive and I didn’t need them. I don’t wear them often because I don’t want to break them or scratch them, but this summer, they’ve been keeping me together and there they were.
Everything broke out of me, not just tears and mucus, a wild river of what had been left behind, nearly forgotten.
I missed JetBlue. I really missed LA. I fully missed my sister. I missed the other side of the country where mountains sprout from the ground and majestically watch over everyone. I missed the cool air at night, so cool you need a jacket.
I missed Elvis walking down the street to go to work. I missed the Pier. I missed the $30 Asian massages. I even missed the nausea of twirling up and down a mountain in my sister’s car. I especially missed the excitement of preparing and going there.
I usually take off to Los Angeles to visit my sister every summer. This summer it didn’t happen mainly because money became an issue.
Money, where are you?
So I’ve made the best of a disappointing situation and pretended I’ve been traveling. I put on these Ray-Bans and think of the fresh air on Catalina Island.
The minute I walk outside I’m reminded with a heavy hit of humid heat that “No, Lisa, you are still in Miami.”
I drive to Starbucks and pretend I have to have a cappuccino there because my sister doesn’t have an espresso machine like I do at my house. When I walk back outside, my skin sizzles worse than ever now that my body is warmed from the inside as well.
“Still here,” the Miami heat proclaims.
I swerve on over to Nordstrom Rack and think I’m in LA across from the Beverly Center. It works out pretty well until a pinch on my arm turns to an itch and I realize I’ve just been bit by a mosquito.
I stand at the door watching the sudden burst of rain pour buckets. Thunder trembling against the glass and lightning cracking its whip. I can’t wait any longer so I rush to my car, only about 10 feet away but I’m completely soaked when I get in the car.
A mosquito zips around my head.
Pinched again, I drive home.
I open my computer to find that instead of writing or working, I’m looking for flights on JetBlue: Too expensive, Too many stops. Bad timing. No one to take us. Need to save money.
I call JetBlue to ask about points and I’m met with the nicest voice. She’ll help with whatever she can. She has a fifteen-year-old daughter too. She knows what it’s like to stay when you want to leave.
Then I really miss LA, more than ever.
The Joy of JetBlue
You see, I’ve flown on JetBlue ever since my daughter turned two and a half and I have only flown on one other airline, Virgin America, but it didn’t even come close to my experience on JetBlue so I never went back.
I knew when they helped me take her out of the stroller and folded it for me, smiled patiently, not the snarky kind, and waited for us to gather everything up that I was in love.
They forgave us when she screamed for a half hour during a landing. They cleaned up our vomit when both kids puked during a red-eye flight.
And, to top it off, they gave me brand-new beautiful suitcases on the spot when mine were damaged after the flight.
If there was a delay even for five minutes, JetBlue gave us free movies.
I miss watching movies, asking for too many popcorn chips, and even drinking the bitter coffee when we take the red-eye flights.
I miss that so much more than my Ray-Bans.
I miss where JetBlue can take us.
It took us to San Francisco also. The magic of wearing a coat in summertime. The bread bowls. The tea bars. The crazy hills and crazier trollies.
And I’m here. And I know.
I really do know.
…that, really, when I look around me as I type on an Apple laptop and am feeling sorry for myself, I can’t really feel sorry at all. I watch my son falling asleep on the couch as we watch E.T. because he said that I should choose a movie.
I think of my daughter already asleep growing into a young woman who can be fierce and challenging but still she rests her head on my shoulder and often holds my hand.
How can I feel bad in my air-conditioned house full of comforts I couldn’t have dreamed up when I was little and lived in a tiny house with one bathroom.
I feel the deep appreciation for everything I have and have had and even what I will have.
That kind of pleasure sends surges of joy traveling through me so much so that I know JetBlue will be there for us on another vacation and sunglasses can be replaced.
Written By Lisa Chesser