It was a crisp spring morning. Frost was doing its best to form on the daffodils as they slept under the cold shadow of the budding oak. 7:00 AM. I stepped out of the front door, coffee in one hand, car keys in the other, inhaled the cold stiff air, and made my way to my car. Before reaching the door of my car, I stopped to grab the daily newspaper. Hands now full, I emptied the articles onto the roof of my car. The keys clanged, a little coffee spilled over the rim of the cup, and the newspaper unfolded like a magic book with its headlines screaming at me and bold colors demanding my attention. But no, I lament. I watched the coffee that had spilled onto my white car. I watched it as it made its way toward the door seem, pool, then drop down onto the driver’s window. This was not starting out so well. I should have got the cup with the lid, I thought to myself. I should have washed it last night so I could use it today. But then, I noticed something else on the window, a reflection.
The contrails of a jet plane soaring tens of thousands of feet above the earth below my feet was a welcome surprise. I see them all the time. All day long, whenever there is a clear sky, if I look up I can see jets streaking across the sky whisking people from one airport to another, from one city to another, from one country to another, from my world, to someone else’s. I wish, today of all days, I was on that specific plane. It was travelling west, towards Dallas. That was the next international airport. When we land, I need to hurry off the plane, make my way up the jet ramp, check the information screens, and then abruptly head toward the appropriate terminal. Whilst I wait on my flight, I check my wallet. Passport, sim card, Oyster card, good, there is no need to stop in T3 at Heathrow to top up. The ride to Earl’s Court will slowly get cramped with each stop. But it will be a welcome scene. “Mind the Gap.” I can’t wait to hear it. And that Gregg’s just across the street has the best coffee drinks, it surely be a great wake-me-up after the long flight. An adventure awaits and I am ready.
Comfortably seated now and watching the attendants make their way up and down the aisles closing overhead storage lockers, slamming one not once, not twice, “yes!” determination wins out, third time’s the charm. Ding. “Ladies and gentlemen the captain has illuminated the no smoking and seat belt indicators. Please keep your seats and trays in their upright positions and keep all electronics powered down or in airplane mode. We thank you for choosing Generic Airways, and as soon as we’ve reached altitude, the captain will turn off the seatbelt indicator and you will then be free to move about the cabin.” London here I come. I check the phone, airplane mode is on, earbuds in, music playing. Up, up and away.
But not today. What’s that I see? THE CIRCUS OF TOMORROW. WAR IN THE SOUTH. BLIZZARD’S LAST BITE. NATIONAL CHAMPS X 3. Today I go to work. Today I face traffic, deadlines, customers, and vendors. Today I earn that flight on Generic Airlines to London. I back out of the driveway, flip it into drive, ease down on the accelerator, ease off, rearview mirror check, I see the plane to Dallas. OBJECTS IN MIRROR MAY BE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. Not this time, I say to myself and laugh. I watch the plane speeding away from me as I again ease down on the accelerator. In the mirror a reality appears as I see it fall from the top of my car…”Coffeeeee!”