Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Most Stressful Day Ever, But I Learned Something, So That Is Good I Guess.

Do they have a travel version?

"Do you want your briefcase in the back of the car?" I asked Brett as we quickly packed up for a 3 day trip to 'corporate summer camp' in Texas. Brett, looking dapper and incredibly stressed in his suit looked over at me quickly. "Uh. No." he shot back, before uttering a few choice curse words under his breath as he struggled with our garage door. "Just- uh...OH YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" He exploded as the garage door exploded- leaving shiny and jagged clumps of glass scattered at his feet.

I took a quick survey of the situation, and after I realized he was not cut, and would not bleed out before 7am, I tiptoed through the glass and propped his suitcase against the curb where he would surely see it. Brett stomped over to the driver's side, threw his coat in the back, and we were off.

As we pulled into a parking garage 20 minutes later, both of our heart rates had returned to normal and we sheepishly grinned at each other as we discussed immediately drinking once we got in the plane. As Brett ducked in the back to grab his things, his features froze.

"Melissa. Where...where is the briefcase?"

"I left it for you next to your door. You were preoccupied, and I had no idea where you wanted me to put it."

" left it on the curb?"

" I left it where you would see it?"

"On the curb." He repeated. "On garbage day."

With both of us harboring resentment in our frantically beating hearts, we jumped back into the car and in seconds were speeding back home along the freeway. I was panicking at the speed Brett was pushing and immediately pictured a cop telling my mother that her awesomely awesome and favorite daughter had perished in a fiery car crash in Pittsburgh before 7:30 am. After her initial confusion: (That can't be my said it was before 7:30 am? No, there must be some mistake.) They would confirm that is was, in fact, me and that I did, in fact, die over a briefcase.

Not the most romantic way to go.

I didn't relax until our car pulled into view of our street, and Brett saw his briefcase waiting nonchalantly against the curb, like it was hoping to catch the next bus into town. To add to the drama, the garbage truck was just pulling into view. Brett frantically retrieved the briefcase, all but kissed it, and then climbed back into the car to be met with steely silence.

"We. Could. Have. Died." I hissed.

"I agree." He hissed back. "If this briefcase was trashed."

More steely silence. And now a lot of crossed arms and huffing.

By the time we got to the airport, we had both softened a bit and were just focused on getting on the plane and closing our eyes. As we waited to board, Brett got a call from work, and realized in the panic of the morning he had sent the wrong file to his boss. Or something bank-y like that. He proceeded to whip out his lap top and SIT DOWN on the ramp leading to the plane to quickly send the file. I was mortified.

"Brett. Brett- please. We have to board."

"5 seconds."

"No, actually, we have to board now."

"4 seconds."

"Brett! There is wifi on the plane! Send it then!"

"There is NO wifi on the plane, Melissa."

"Um. There is. I promise. Get on this plane right now. The file can wait 20 minutes."

"There is NO wifi ON THE PLANE MELISSA."

People were streaming all around Brett like he was an impeccably dressed pebble in a current. The flight attendants were eyeballing me angrily, and I was growing more and more impatient. I was NOT getting on that god forsaken plane to god forsaken Texas without my god forsaken husband. I full on begged him to get up, and he finally did, still tapping at the keyboard as we furtively slunk to our seats. As I wearily snapped on my seat belt the captain's voice came over the intercom.

"We're just about 5 minutes from take-off, folks. We will refuel the plane and then be on our way."

Brett looked over at me excitedly as if the captain told us a bunch of naked girls holding beer would soon be walking down the plane aisles. "YES!" He said as he gleefully jumped to his feet. "I'm getting off the plane. I'll be right back!"


Now, I am an incredibly patient woman and I have an incredibly high threshold for shenanigans, but this was my breaking point. I watched Brett bound off the plane and I swear to God I had had it. I fumed. I rolled my magazine between my shaking fists, I pictured the plane doors closing and the stupid briefcase and our stupid morning and suddenly saw stars and white and all the things cartoon characters see when they are mad. To top it off, a flight attendant got on the intercom, exasperation clearly in her voice.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we ask you to PLEASE turn off all electric devices, ESPECIALLY laptops, and EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE PLANE. We would like to take off sometime soon, so PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR SEATS."

The woman in the aisle across from me smirked over as I ducked down and covered my eyes, missing Brett's triumphant return to his seat. He sat down and buckled up, eyes twinkling, forehead covered in a fine sheen of corporate sweat.

"Was the file sent?" I asked coolly.

" But, there is wifi on the plane, so I'll send it then."


Needless to say, 20 minutes later the file was sent and a sheepish Brett had ordered me a glass of wine. I drank it, avoided his eyes, and stared out the window until my heart-rate for the 328748747 time that morning, had returned to normal. When I finally pivoted to look his way and try to argue my frustration, I saw that my husband, now in his rumpled suit, was peacefully asleep...clutching his briefcase.

All of my arguments, however valid, evaporated. Here was my husband- one of the hardest working men I know, finally resting after doing his job. This was a man that never stopped working-at anything-ever. He approached everything in life with that same sense of dutifulness and dedication. I thought of the times he patiently worked with me, patiently worked with my family, and patiently worked through any issues that had come up in our life. He would sit down on the ramp of the plane of life to send one last file because it mattered to him. Would I? Would I be the kind of person to do that?

Uh. No.

I have spent the better part of this last year on planes, and that is where I do my best thinking. (And fuming, apparently.) So, as I looked over at Brett and admired his persistence, I let myself admire the fact that I am not at all like that. A file can wait. A lost briefcase is a total drag, but not worth my life. 5 extra minutes on a plane leaves me with 5 extra minutes to dive into my book- but we need the influence of another way to balance us out. Brett needed someone to coax him into seat 9A and insist on cocktail hour at 10:30am. He needs someone that would look over and soften at his sudden sleep- and remove the wretched briefcase from his hands, and loosen his tie.

And I need someone like him.

(He also needs someone that stands firm in the fact that it WAS NOT MY FAULT that the briefcase was left on the curb.)

But that reminder can wait. We only have now...we only have today.

Today, and 6$ glasses of airplane wine.

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