I had another long travel day today. Not a bad flight though. Managed to get a good deed in too. The woman sitting next to me was on the flight to help her brother get his wife home. She apparently has Alzheimer's and gets restless on flights. Our row was the closest seat she could get to her brother and sister-in-law. I felt terrible for my seatmate but noticed my co-worker was sitting across the aisle from her brother so I told her if things went "haywire" I was sure my friend could trade seats with her. About 45 minutes into the flight it became apparent that they should switch seats. All involved seemed relieved.
Later in baggage claim I noticed a monk calmly waiting for his bag. Well of course he would be calm but I wondered, what does a monk pack to NYC? More robes, underwear a toothbrush? I mean, there can't be an iPod and a Harry Potter book in there, right? I'm still curious. I know that monks are people too but still I'm so curious. What was in that big duffle bag? Seeing that monk in JFK was just like those movie scenes where one person stands still and everything around them rushes by in fast forward. I swear, it was just like that. It reminded me of a Bill Moyers interview with Pema Chodra. She was talking about flights and how she watches with fascination as people frantically get their stuff organized before settling into their seats. She watches folks pulling magazines, books, mints, iPods, pillows and so on out of bags and into seatback pockets. People just killing themselves to avoid quiet time. Nobody seems able to stand the thought of quiet introspection on a flight. She, naturally, looks at flights as a great opportunity to meditate. It's not a bad idea, but not one I've considered trying. I do slow down now though. If I feel like sleeping I'll give it a go. Mostly I'm just so excited to have uninterrupted reading time. But I always think of Ms. Chodra now. Seeing that monk at baggage claim was like a reminder at the beginning of this trip. I need to remember to not get too stressed and try to get work done while slowing down and enjoying myself.
Christina and I went to Rosa Margarita for dinner. That Pomegranate margarita was great way to slow down and relax. I don't think it's what Pema has in mind when she recommends slowing down but it'll do for now.