Up in the Air

There is this girl in my row on the airplane. She broke her iPod. She is going on and on about how this is the worst thing that has ever happened to her. She must be younger than I thought. She tells her traveling companion that really terrible things have happened to her and this is the worst.

One time she broke her phone in three pieces. One time she got locked out of her house and it was raining and now she has broken her iPod and this is without a doubt the very worst thing that has ever happened to her.

And I start crying.

I have to pretend my book is sad.

I’m not even involved in their conversation. I cry because what a wonderful and charmed life she must have had. I want to tell her about my dead baby. I want to tell her about betrayal. I want to talk about sickness and fear and hunger. Drunk drivers and cancer. Being truly let down and the way debt can so quickly spiral out of control. About being alone, or being smothered. I want to tell her about the job you hate so much you get physically ill every Sunday night. I want to talk to her about how I am going crazy.

I want to tell her how much I hate myself sometimes and how much worse that is than breaking something that is entirely replaceable.

I also kind of want to give her my iPod.

I am sure that isn’t the bad part. I have to believe she is sad because of the lost music. She probably doesn’t want to listen to Duran Duran, Sepultura and The Dandy Warhols anyway. She might not even know who Alice in Chains are, or were, or are.

Could I hand her an iPod and fix her problems? The one I have in my bag I bought with credit card points. It means nothing to me. I like it. I don’t need it.

Why do I always cry on airplanes?

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  1. I already told you some other things, but I’ll just add that it’s always such a relief to know that these times pass and then we’re on the ground and things are better.

  2. *hugs*
    It’s always really hard to hear someone carrying on about meaningless bullshit when you’re going through/thinking about some really tough stuff. Happens to me a lot.

  3. The really terrible thing is that the young un’s who have nothing to worry about will never believe that they have nothing to worry about.

    Planes are all kinds of fucked up. They mess with your body and your head. Hope you’re hanging in there. Hugs.

  4. Maybe a little bit of you was crying because you wanted to be back at that age, where the worst thing that ever happened was that your ipod broke. Ignorance is wasted on youth, isn’t that some kind of famous saying?

  5. I adore when you write like this. And you. I adore you too.

    Maybe you were sorta wishing that you lived her life for a bit…the one where the worst thing that had happened to you so far is breaking your iPod. Sometimes it seems so easy to be that person. Yet, the reality is, you only know what you hear her say on that plane.

    Hugs Sarah. I hope you have a great time with Erin.

  6. I actually feel bad that, were I in your situation, I’d probably be filled with indignation and righteous rage, and would never consider giving her my ipod.

    Weren’t you writing, a while back, about being hard on yourself? You might be on to something. It might be part of what’s making you cry.

    I hope you feel better once you’re back on the ground.

  7. I want to talk hug you so much right now.

  8. Big Hugs Sarah! I wasn’t aware that you and I shared such a tragic loss. If only my biggest disappointment were a broken iPod. Have a great time seeing Duran Duran; RIO was one of my first albums :)

  9. You leave me speechless, and that’s all I have to say about this.

  10. xo.

  11. There are at least ten different comments I want to leave here. One about a charmed life, another about the “famous makeup artist” I sat by once on a plane, definitely one about how much easier it is sometimes to be mad at gadgets than the larger ills of the world, and still others about how much we all suffer and how crazy we all really are. Instead, I’ll just say I hope you know how much you are loved and how good of a writer you really are.

  12. I would like to second everything everyone has said here already, and also: Can I listen to one of your earbuds? Sepultura, yeah! \m/ \m/

  13. Oh girl. Have a fun time. You are so sweet and generous to think of giving her your ipod. It’s what makes you such a wonderful person and that I am honored to call my friend. Be good to yourself and you can always come by my place and have a drink and sample some of my crazy.

  14. smart aleck says:

    I blame crying on planes on the recycled air. If we’re getting other germs swirling around, we have to be getting emotions, too.
    You probably keep getting my old emotions wafting over to you–I did a long distance relationship for awhile (successfully), and every time I got on a plane to come home I was a mess.

    I have an issue with people whining about inconsequential stuff lately when Japan is struggling on so many levels and a close friend has a sick child (not head cold sick, but long term sick).

    Then I remember being young and whining about running out of hairspray or gel.
    (It was the 80s, so that is bigger than it seems now.)

    Grown-ups get past shallow to see the big picture, and big emotions come with that. You’re a grown-up.

  15. This is a great post. That’s all.

  16. I am sorry. I had no idea you had lost a child.

    I hope the broken iPod is the worst the young girl ever has to deal with. I wish it was the worst anyone had to deal with.

  17. I cry on planes too. Mostly when I see stressed moms with badly-behaving kids or people who’ve clearly said goodbye to someone they didn’t want to say goodbye to.

    I so strongly empathize that I cry for them and a little for me.

  18. indigo tara says:

    I love your writing, your perspective, your sense of humor, and your way with words. Please don’t stop blogging. Know that you bring smiles and laughter and insight to my life. I hate all those big things we struggle with, those wounds we carry. But I we are also so blessed with love and joy and life. I think it is the cost of living a life that goes beyond superficial. Our capacity for hurt and healing grows.

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