Here at home, I can get to the airport in 30 minutes but there’s the two hours which must be allotted for the doffing of shoes and coat, getting frisked and otherwise demeaned (all because one loon once put a bomb in his Keds). Post-flight and down on terra firma in Pittsburgh there’s the car rental to negotiate and the looooong ass drive from the airport south of the city to my father’s town 70+ miles north. It rarely takes less than two hours.
Total trek time? If the angels are with us, a little over six hours
So then, yesterday we left Daddy at noon – this gave us two hours to motor down to the airport with extra time for hitting la gasolinera and returning the rental leviathan. Plenty of time AND, better still, we didn’t fall into rush hour traffic. Possibly a first. Yea us.
There was time to hit the Hudson Newsstand, with their minuscule yet decent selection of paperbacks and hardcovers. I swear, Pittsburgh Airport used to have a real, fair sized bookstore. Ya know, one with whole sections devoted to straight up fiction and non, sci fi wonders, cooking tomes (!!!), current events and even poetry. Where’d this shop go? Was it replaced by sportsball paraphernalia hawkers? Big ticket men’s shoes merchants? Fancy purse retailers? Jewelry sellers? An authentic (‘cept for it being in Pittsburgh not Paris) French pâtisserie?
All those shops are lovely but, what I want in an airport is a decent book and magazine emporium. Still, I found this interesting little jewel:
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.
As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.
This made me think of my beloved Aunt Mary Ann. All her adult life, she lived in New York (in Turtle Bay versus Lillian’s Murray Hill). The narrator even sounds like Mary Ann. I want to time travel back to 1953, meet and get to know Mary Ann at 22. A recent college grad, she was strong, independent and just starting out in the big world of NYC book publishing. This book will give me a window into her world.
Back in flightless bird land…
The journey home was delayed. Now, I expected this given that, as much as I love jetBlue, their afternoon and evening flights routinely run VERY late. That and I saw a tweet from John Scalzi early in the AM – he woke just in time for a storm driven power outage. He lives in Ohio, four hours west of Pittsburgh – the big bad weather was headed our way.
Eventually, just as I was thinking the airline peeps were gonna tell us our flight was doomed and cancelled, the sky boat began taxiing down the runway.
This expedition clocked in at close to ten hours rather than the already too long six. We could've driven from Valhalla to Daddy in less time. Hmmph. What I so definitely NEED is a transwarp beaming device. C'mon science folk – get ON IT!