Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flying with your husband 101: The Holiday edition.

The other night Brett and I were sleepily traversing the Pittsburgh airport together, me half leaning on his arm and talking about the possibility of burgers in my near future. As we rounded the corner I lifted a finger towards a statue by the escalators.

"Look!" I cooed dreamily. "A pirate-Thanksgiving-man statue. That's so nice."

Brett stopped walking and looked down at me, eyebrows raised. "Are you asleep?"


"What is a pirate-Thanksgiving statue?" 

"That." I said, pointing again impatiently. "Honestly, Brett. It's nice though, isn't it? Festive."

He looked in the direction of my finger, and turned to me again. We were still not moving.

"You mean..." he started, before abruptly jerking into a fast walk until we were in front of the statue. "This historic mannequin of our first president of the United States?"

"A Thanksgiving pirate, to my recollection, was never  a president, Brett."


"Oh." I returned in a small voice as we boarded the escalator and I sank heavily into him. I looked up at his face furtively before I whispered into his sleeve: "I didn't know George Washington was a Thanksgiving-pirate."

He smacked his palm to his forehead.

The holidays are upon us and with that comes a whole lot of traveling. We had just come back from a weekend in Seattle, and it never fails to amaze me how we are such good traveling partners for people that generally bicker 99% of the day. The morning of our trip Brett cornered me in the bathroom angrily.

"Do you eat soap?" He snapped at me as I staggered out of the shower and rudely pushed past him.

"That tangy-Irish crap we buy? I would never." I retorted angrily.

"I'm just asking because we go through about 2 bars a week, which is insane. And, if we run out? Replace it please? Maybe not leave a sliver in the shower for me to clean my entire body with?!"

"You're impossible. And I'm hungry."

"I made breakfast. It's on the table."

Like a child, I pouted miserably. "I don't want that."

"You. Don't. Know. What. It. Is."

"It's berries and toast." I replied smugly, handing him a bar of soap. His face gave away that it was indeed berries and toast and I smiled triumphantly.

"I'm in the mood for just coffee today."

We're not like that normally. Only the day of traveling. I mean, yes, we bicker constantly, but it is usually not about things like forgoing a made breakfast to be spiteful or insinuating the other eats toiletry products. We bicker about normal things, but we keep up a steady stream of it during our day to day lives. He remarks on my wet towels on the bed. I pick at him over his piles and piles of mail and magazines he leaves throughout the house like he can't find his way back to the bedroom and needs to leave himself clues. He hates that I leave water glasses beside the bed and I hate the fact that he insists to pan fry EVERYTHING WE EAT ALL THE TIME IN OUR SMALL, AIRLESS APARTMENT. But, we always return to love. We always end up laughing at ourselves and airing out the apartment or bringing the water glasses back to the sink in a silent movement of romanticism. We do love each other.

We just...disagree.

All that goes out the window during the morning of a trip, and we're usually pretty cruel up until we board the plane. But then, something majestic takes place. Brett loads my bag into the overhead compartment for me and settles me in to my seat before he takes his. He usually procures a snack for me and I make sure his magazines and books are organized in front of him. If he is particularly stressed, I know just the scotch to order him. And he will massage my hands as we take off, knowing take-off stresses me out, but I would never admit to it.

In the air, we're cordial, social, sweet, and loving. We calmly discuss politics and religion. We share food and drinks and shoulders for sleeping. We discuss dreams and fears. Desires and flaws. Flight attendants always remark on how cute we are and ask how long we've been married.

"Oh, two years." I'll say sweetly, while squeezing his arm. Little do they know 3 hours before I was ready to shove a bar of Irish Spring down his throat.

It reminds me of how we all are with our family during the holidays. When we have to be on our best behavior, we can be. It can almost come naturally with a glass of wine and a People magazine. But, it also reminds me how we can be the worst to the people we love the most. Maybe Brett and I put on a lovely show in the air because we know we're being watched. But, what about those private moments in the bathroom right before where we are cruel? And insensitive? And impatient? I don't want to be that person. I want to be the Melissa in seat 23 C that is kind and thoughtful and giving.

For Thanksgiving this year, I'm going to pretend I'm flying with my husband with an audience of well dressed, perky flight attendants. I'm going to be patient. And loving. And sweet.

And maybe give him a hand massage during dinner when my mom starts telling the story about how I was "PRACTICALLY A STILL-BORN AND OH MY GOD THE SAC SHE CAME IN WAS GREEN."

He deserves it.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May we all travel...lovingly.

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