My flight landed in Oklahoma City’s Airport. I looked around to orient myself. “Where is the baggage claim? The Hertz rental desk?”
The line of “Arrivals” hurriedly passed the rows of waiting “Departures.”
My husband Aaron was scheduled to arrive two hours after me. With this in mind I glanced around the airport keeping an eye out for power outlets, near tables and chairs. My laptop battery was almost dead, since I had used the entire flight to barf out 5 chapters of what will eventually be my autobiography.
On the flight, the guy in the seat next to me had brought a big, hardcover business book to read. When I popped open my laptop and started “barfing” onto a blank word doc., which was accompanied by sniffles and even tears sometimes… I noticed he reclined his chair, put away his book, and tilted his head in an ever so “I am NOT reading your computer screen… but I AM” sort of way. This went on for the remainder of the flight.
I am going to take it as a compliment. Perhaps the back cover of my book will say, “In a word- Engrossing!”
“1 out of 1 seat neighbors prefer Rachel Coleman’s autobiography over the business book they intended to read.”
On my way down to get my bag and the large hard-side Samsonite that a bigger than life Hopkins resides in… I checked my twitter and read a message to me from @symbolman
“Rachel, dunno your news situation, if you’re on a plane, but Michael Jackson is dead.. RIP”
My first thought was, “Is he joking?” But, I have met @symbolman and his wife and their son… and I didn’t get the sense he would… my thought was interrupted by an airport announcement “Attention travelers. The King of Pop, Michael Jackson has died.”
Clearly, he was not joking. I wasn’t home. I wasn’t in front of a TV, and wouldn’t be for days.
Aaron’s flight was delayed 2 hours, which gave me 4 hours to keep on doing what I was doing, before he arrived, and we would begin our 90 mile drive to Sulphur, Oklahoma. What was I doing? Oh yeah, I was thinking back over my entire life… pondering… wondering. How was this little life of mine all going to work out?
Death is a funny thing. Not funny-funny… but you know. Most of us live like we are going to keep on living and we are so shocked when people die! Do we forget that death is the only thing any of us can really count on? When people die, we say it was “untimely” but… in reality, it was timely, since death happened.
Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Byron Katie in her book “Loving What Is.”
“When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100 percent of the time.”
(A great book to read, if you don’t happen to be sitting next to me on a plane while I am writing mine.)
You know, Aaron’s friend Jed died recently and it was terrible! It’s still pretty terrible. We opened our swimming pool a few weeks ago and I had to catch myself, stop myself from suggesting that Aaron call Jed for a BBQ. Yesterday, I was making breakfast and Aaron was standing at the kitchen sink, staring out the window. Quietly, he said, “I’d sure like to meet Jed for a cup of coffee today.”
It’s disrupting that Jed is gone. It is not what I expected and it has not been what I am used to or what I could count on. I thought I could count on our friend always being around.
A few weeks ago I was watching Rachael Ray interview Dr. G (medical examiner). Dr. G was talking about her patients, who, by the way are dead. Rachael Ray had asked if DR.G’s job was depressing. Dr. G said it is quite the opposite. She pointed out that her patients typically have no idea, the day before, that they are going to end up in a morgue. This perspective has caused her to really live and love every minute she’s got, because none of us know when our number is going to be up.
It was late at night and pitch dark as Aaron and I drove through Oklahoma. We found a radio station that was playing a Michael Jackson tribute. It was cool. What can you say? Jackson was an icon. We all grew up listening to his music. Mostly, I think it’s sad that he was so mocked and so strange in his last years. Let’s face it… it was weird! And sadder still that we celebrate lives in amazing ways, once those lives are over… when the people we celebrate are no longer alive and they aren’t standing there receiving that acknowledgment.
Isn’t that lame? Seriously? We should stop that! We should tell people when we think they are amazing. We should open our mouths and acknowledge the people we live with and work with and love. We should thank our parents, (Hey mom… dad if you are reading this, thanks for feeding me, educating me and helping me become a half-decent human being!)
We should squeeze our children.
We should apologize profusely.
Thank your neighbors.
Send flowers for no reason… whatever!
What are we waiting for? What are we afraid of? All we really have is right now.
Right Now is powerful.
Just imagine if we went about our lives, armed with Right Now and actually used it!