I always get the jitters before a trip, especially when it involves flying. Sure, there's giddy anticipation of a vacation, but my brain also buzzes as it calculates all the what-ifs, wonders who'd get my cat, my photos, my furniture, should I fall from the sky. I used to designate a friend as a "sanitizer," with a key to my place and tasked with cleansing it of any images, tapes, DVDs, magazines, apparel or other... appliances... that might horrify my God-fearing Christian parents. I was joking with just such a friend the other day, and he mentioned now that my parents are gone, he need not be assigned said responsibility. We both giggled, darkly.
I used to love flying, even in small Cesna planes my father took the family out in for Sunday excursions when I was a very small child. But when my mother's cancer turned very bad in the year 2000, and I suffered through two VERY bumpy flights in a row, I was shaken with a personal reminder of mortality and mortified by the concept of modern aviation. The idea of these heavy, huge metal machines being able to lift themselves from the ground--and stay aloft--suddenly seemed like some strange mythology. I taught myself a few techniques for dealing with turbulence--forced leg tremors to counteract the sensation, creative visualization (we're all on a Great Big Bus on a bumpy road!)--and slowly soothed myself back into now being able to fly relatively anxiety-free.
But that still seems like some strange technological-based denial. We are all so fragile.
I do, of course, look forward to exploring Chicago again, and shoot as many pictures as possible. On my first trip in 2003, I shot nearly 900 images in four days. This trip my buddy Kevin, who grew up in Chicago, promised to give me a "photographer's tour" of the town. So, as they used to say, stay tuned.
On Thursday morning I rise into the air from Seattle/Tacoma International Airport.