“Aren’t you leaving again, tomorrow morning?” the American counter worker asked.
“No. San Antonio is home. I’m home,” and for good measure I added. “I’ve been gone all week.”
“So, how long were you in Cleveland?” she asked.
“Cleveland? Never. I flew to Cincinnati for the week and home again.”
“Says here your bag is on its way to ‘CVG.’ That’s Cleveland. –What about LAX?”
I handed her my itinerary to prove my points of arrival and departure as if I were a student with a hall pass who was trying to get out of a detention. She continued to ask about other flights that I was “booked” for, last night and today—all of which I won’t detail further because yesterday was just another bizarre travel day full of unbelievable detours, cancellations, rude employees who made clerical errors on one end and then wouldn’t/couldn’t fix them for me on the other.
My husband says things happen to me like he’s never heard of, and I rebuke the idea of an airport curse because I think these snafoos—which occur more and more frequently—point to a failure in the overwhelmed system, and anyone who travels regularly sees that modern airports are a bureaucratic nightmare. What was strangest, though, about yesterday is that there was no inclement weather or laborers’ strike or even a bomb threat to “blame” all of these mistakes on. Suffice to say, if I had the time and patience to drive to my appointed destinations I would.
As Steve and I drove home without my suitcase and belongings, sadness and exhaustion settled in, but this was more than a weariness from fighting with the airlines. I had been in Cincinnati all week putting together a theatre salon with new collaborators, and the experience had been exciting and fulfilling. Every night I couldn’t wait to get to rehearsal, and the 3-4 hours that we were there flew by—because this is what happens when you are DOING WHAT YOU LOVE! Now that the performance and our time together was over I had that emptiness that every theatre practitioner knows follows the journey of a play. Moving on to the next project always feels anticlimactic.
This morning as I returned to routine, I tried to write, to open and answer a bulging INBOX of email that I’d put off for seven days, but I couldn’t concentrate. It’s like I had emotional jetlag, wishing I could remain in the company of the theatre relationships we’d forged, deep connections that are only made through such an intense week of rehearsal, and character and scene work. I know this listlessness will pass—and perhaps writing about our successes at the salon this last week will help work through the fog—but I think the business of making living art like theatre deserves at least a dark stage and a moment of silence after the work is done. What we have raised, together, from the dust lives on in our memories and hearts but losing the immediacy of that contact with one another is a loss I can’t help but mourn at first.