Friday afternoon, I’m in the car on the way to LaGuardia. This drive was much more fun than the drive to the hotel the night before. The difference was the drivers. While kind and efficient, the driver the night before said only a few words to me. The driver who took me to the airport Friday was the total opposite. I not only know his name, marital status and where he grew up, I know how to get licensed and insured as a driver in New York City, how many Yellow Cabs are on the streets of Manhattan at any given time, and the best way to get to LaGuardia from E. 53rd (take the Queensboro Bridge and not the tunnel).
The driver was a native New Yorker. Talked a mile a minute. This is a portion of the conversation. Read it with a genuine Brooklyn accent in mind and in almost one breath: “I’ve had Matt Lauer riding in my car three times now and I didn’t know it until my girlfriend said to me she said, ‘Hey, that was Matt Lauer in your car,’ and I said, ‘Who’s Matt Lauer?’ and she says, ‘What do you mean who’s Matt Lauer? He’s from the Today Show.” And I’m like, ‘I don’t watch the Today Show.’ Then when he was in my car again I said, ‘Your Matt Lauer.’ Mia Farrow was in my car, too, and I thought about asking her about Woody Allen and then I thought that might not be a good idea. She’s got some adopted kids, right? She looks old. I’m movin’ in with my girlfriend on the 14th and I got the key to prove it.” He then shook a keychain to show me.
His ex-wife, who cheated on him and he divorced but he’s now in a relationship with the before mentioned girlfriend who apparently is on Weight Watchers because she wants to look good for their wedding but he tells her she looks great the way she is, (inhale) called and he answered the phone and said, “Helloooooo (very sarcastically). I told you to never call me at work. Didn’t I tell you that? I tell you that all the time. Don’t call me at work. Call me AFTER 9! Goooooobyyyyye.” Click.
Apparently she calls all the time.
Another ex-girlfriend works at the airport. He was also in the first Gulf War, Desert Storm, in artillery. Said he “killed my enemy from nine miles away.” Caught some shrapnel and was sent home.
All this on a half-hour drive to LaGuardia. There’s more but I can’t remember it all. He was a lot of fun and he kept his car well stocked with water and Dove candy bars.
I was glad to get to the airport, check my bag, chill in a restaurant near my gate, and hook up to the Internet. The women behind me were discussing Somalia. The manager called security because some guy at the bar was drunk and obnoxious. The suits next to me were talking about women and their latest sales conquest. All I wanted was to get on the plane and get back to Pittsburgh. I bought some yogurt and a banana for the trip, took my window seat and was squished next to two other women and worked a crossword puzzle all the way home.
You know all about the incident in the airport parking lot, so I’ll skip that part except to say my head feels better. My daughters, son-in-law, boyfriend-in-law and of course, Miss Claire were all waiting for me when I got to my daughter’s house. We ate dinner, watched Entertainment Tonight, and I felt the tension of the day ease. But it was when I took Claire upstairs to change her diaper that I felt the weight of the day.
The only light in the room was a nightlight. Claire laid on her changing table and wasn’t too happy at first. I gave her kisses and tickled her belly. She kicked and smiled and that’s when I broke down. My tears fell on her little naked torso as I changed her diaper and put on her pajamas. I talked to her and told her how much I loved her and how Grammy Lynn was crying because she was so happy. And it wasn’t New York or People or Today or ET or limo drivers or being called Toothpick Legs that made me happy. It was Claire. It was coming home and being greeted by the genuine smile and joy of my granddaughter.
It’s not that the other things aren’t important or that they don’t give me a sense of accomplishment and pride. They do. But nothing in this world compares to sitting on a couch with my family, laughing and talking and feeling safe. There have been significant things added to my reality this week, things that have the potential to fulfill my dreams in ways I never imagined. But it is my family that keeps me grounded. They won’t let me forget who I am. In fact, it’s this YouTube video from “The Family Guy” that really illustrates this point. Yes, my kids do this to me even now and thank God they’ll probably never grow out of it.
Thank you for reading and for all your support. I’ll be back in a few days with a new and fairly normal blog. While I’ve redefined what’s “normal” in my life, it’s all still pretty much the same.