Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New England Adventure

I’ve returned from my adventure to the east coast and I must admit it has put my mind into a new perspective sparking a greater appreciation for the beauty of home.

Air travel is something that my body is just not accustomed to and someday when I’m independently wealthy I will custom design my own private jet complete with plush seats, hot tub, champagne service, flat screen TV and surround sound. I’ll even have my portrait painted on the tail like Bob Marley and the Jamaica jets. Until then I’m hopelessly stuck in coach with the screaming babies, overwhelming senior citizen body order, snoring businessmen, gabby “flight mothers” and spending countless hours contorting my body into the most uncomfortable seats known to man. I have found out that it is impossible for me to fall asleep on an airplane.

Thankfully the redeye flight from Oregon to New Jersey went smoothly and arrived almost 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Following our arrival I subjected my sleepless body to three and half exhilarating hours in the lovely Newark Airport. Since I had some extra time there I was able to go out of security, escape from the front doors and catch the feel of New Jersey on my tired face. A view of the New York skyline is what I was greeted with and an outline of the Empire State Building dancing behind the sunrise. A constant flow of people faded the entrance of the airport doors passing one another without any interaction, not a smile or greeting, just a blank stare as they bumped into each other without cause or care. The concrete was pained by discarded trash and worn where it had been exposed to constant foot travel. I could not even catch site of a pansy in a planter. The only sign of life not caught up in the mindless pace of travel was a solitary pigeon. He was much smaller than the pigeons at home but he was my only friendly face. I waved goodbye to him as my plane took off into the sunrise. I’ve decided to name him Percy.

Lake Champlain glistened like some unreal body of water bedecked with magical sailboats and mysterious islands just like those in my fantasy novels as the plane approached Burlington, Vermont. The foothills, or “mountains” as they are called in Vermont, caused a harsh wind sheer and the pilot had to pull up from the first landing attempt and circle the lake a second time before we could touch down. The high wind and chill factor slapped my face the moment I stepped outside. I couldn’t help but compare the environment with that of the southern Oregon coast. The only components missing were the salt in the air and the greenery was dark and rich verses the more vibrant greenery of Oregon.

The first difference I noticed about Vermont was the slow-paced and laid-back lifestyle. I could walk from one end of the city to the other in an hour while it would take the locals I was passing left and right all day. This difference was more obvious in the service as it took 3 hours to check into the hotel room, 20 minutes to get a cup of tea and 45 minutes for a club sandwich. There is no sense of urgency anywhere in that state and I suppose while that leaves them with a stress-free life, it makes a west coaster stressed out and frazzled.

As much as I wish I could say my trip was for pleasure, my purpose on the east coast was to attend an annual meeting of ASLCS (American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries). Entertainment is guaranteed when you get a group of legislative staff together and multiplied when you mix those people from all 50 states as well as Canada, Mexico, England and Ireland. The connections established and friendships formed are something that I’ll never forget. I now have my ASLCS family and an excuse to see the world visiting my new friends. I'll never live this one down but apparently I do talk like a “valley girl” according to my new friends from Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Oh well, I love “all yall’s” anyway.

Fortunately I was able to do a little personal sightseeing while I was away. New England’s most amazing offering is the fabulous Maine lobster. I can now say I’ve experienced it and I’m sorry to Oregon crabbers but nothing tops this crustacean delicacy. <3

The trip home brought me to Atlanta, Georgia where I was greeted with the blast of humid heat the minute I stepped off the plane. Unfortunately or fortunately, not sure which one, I only had enough time to run from one gate to another. The Atlanta skyline is beautiful and I plan on visiting there very soon. Yes, my friends in the south, I blew you all a kiss out the window of the plane as I glanced down and my plane turned to the north. Setting out from Georgia to Portland I had to resist singing on the plane to my Norah Jones CD as I was overwhelmed with inspiration just to be returning home. First step I took outside I filled my lungs with Oregon air and I felt alive again. It’s so good to be home.

***

On another note…

…late at night while the rest of the east coast is sound asleep I listened intently to the sweetest voice left back on the west coast. Falling asleep with the phone in my hand after talking to you, I don’t know how, but you were with me all the time.

I just…trust you.

1 comment:

Sara said...

An adventure it was. Sounds like you had some fun though. Thanks for the postcard!!!