August 2015

Photo by K. Farwell

Well, I just spent about two weeks visiting in Puyallup, WA. Everyone thought I’d be enjoying rain every day, but it only rained (for longer than thirty minutes) one day while I was there. In fact, they are experiencing a terrible drought that may eventually kill there beautiful evergreens in the next couple of years. Now that I am home, according to the news, their forest fires are also spreading across the state from east to west, so fire may eventually be a threat to the Puyallup area also.  I did, however, enjoy the cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels—-and, of course, the spectacular views. I enjoyed spending time with my sister. We let ourselves indulge in adult play (creativity) beading  bracelets and finishing a very challenging but beautiful jigsaw puzzle.


In order to enjoy this vacation I had to work up my courage to face the challenge of flying in today’s world of post 9/11 aviation. I did not have any trouble in St. Louis; TSA did not have me take my shoes off, “x-ray” me in any “hands-above-your-head” machine, or pat me down. The guy behind me had to have his hands checked for powder residue, so I can only assume they were doing a bit of profiling—-all he did was lean against the metal railing while I was walking through the “entry scan gate.”  Of course, every seat was filled on my flight, and the hardest thing to tolerate, for me, was what sounded like three babies not just crying but shrieking at a level very painful to the human ear.  The best part  of my flight from St. Louis to Sea-Tac was conversing with my “seat mate.” He was a young man from China who had been touring the U.S. He talked about his travels in Europe and Russia, and he said he liked America the best. When I asked him what it was he liked the best, he said “the freedom.”  His reply almost left me speechless because I realized I tend to take that aspect of our country fore granted. I realized I have spent my life here actively protesting (in my younger days) and intermittently complaining about what I consider negative aspects of our country’s political realities rather than being grateful for the positive aspects of our democracy. That one comment provided the most potent “aha” learning moment of my vacation adventure.

My flight back was not filled with shrieking babies, and I got to change planes—–to a seat that had an empty seat between me and the other man in my row of seats.  However, my PTSD symptom remnants made waiting to get on my plane at SeaTac very uncomfortable. TSA there was doing a fantastic job of protecting all of us, and I got to experience security measures I have never experienced before (like a sniffing drug dog, the infamous “x-ray” machine, and being patted down and having my hands checked for powder. No profiling here— I was glad to see sweet little old ladies had to take their shoes off and be treated like everyone else….very carefully. Once I got to my gate, I knew why. I was in a  major port of entry/departure, and the entire hub of gates where I had to wait was standing room only. When I finally got a seat after about 45 minutes, a young man set down next to me. He started playing a  car racing game on his tablet——-and he actively took those turns by shifting his body weight and moving his arms at different angles—— an action that resulted in me being repeatedly touched/jabbed with his elbow. I finally got up enough nerve to ask him to please play another game that didn’t necessitate him repeatedly jabbing his elbow into me. He was more careful after that.

I was extremely happy to walk in my own front door about 2 AM. I was “too tired” to get to sleep until about 4 AM, and my dogs woke me up at 6:30 AM; this made for a very surreal Sunday. All in all, I learned that even though travel has its challenges, the rewards still outweigh them. In retrospect,  I can clearly appreciate that now, but when I was being repeatedly “elbow jammed” I had my doubts.  Enough of my travel log. God bless and keep you.