13 January 2013

Change of Scene

Early Friday morning, a short drive to Orange County airport and park under a lamp, as I was taught long ago to do, march into the terminal, wait patiently in a too-slow security lie, but I am early, as I always am, so no rush, and make my way to Gate 18, which is on the end, but a short walk, board soon after and take-off on time [thank you Southwest]. The plane shoots into the sky in a steep arc [a sound abatement technique, so the pilot calms the anxious] and settles quickly at 40,000 feet which, based on elementary school training, is  5,280 feet per mile [one of those childhood memorizations that never quits] means roughly 8 miles towards the heavens, while I gaze out the window into a piercingly blue sky.

This giant machine, of I don't know how many tons of heavy steel, soars through the blue like a bird, floating above bright white cottony clouds below. I read my Kindle and sip a diet pepsi, chat briefly with my seating companion, who inquires about Kindle, and in just over an hour's flying time, as promised, the pilot gently sets down the giant bird, brakes revving into that wind-tunnel vibration that lasts only seconds as it slows us from a gallop to a crawl. In moments I am awaiting the public bus that for $1 [senior's price - otherwise $2] transports me in 12 minutes to a stop barely two blocks from the boutique Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento where moments later my dear friend Chris, of Sonoma County, arrives for our annual "sisters week-end."

Our room for the night, pre-paid and discounted via Expedia, with tall sun-filled windows facing a park, has two lovely beds with white sateen bedding and plump pillows, plenty of plugs for charging, a large screen TV and fresh subway tiles in the spacious bathroom that reminds me of my first apartment in NYC.

The staff calls me by name as we come and go and we are so well situated we walk everywhere. The two days are crisp, cold and sunny, perfect for strolling, and also for cozying up in the fine bistro's and restaurants Chris has scoped out with hearty food and lively ambiance, where we dissect all the matters of the day, personal and universal, taste good wine, and laugh, as good friends do when time permits for such visits.

The Crocker Museum is a treasure trove of fine art with the bonus of a fabulous restored mansion [gorgeous doors and molding, sweeping staircase - shades of Downtown Abbey] and Sac neighborhoods are charming, although this capital city is a small city, definitely not NYC or San Fran. Good for a week-end, yes.

My return flight is delayed, too many hours in the airport, but I am reading a good book and there is a lovely little wine bar with small plates of decent food, so could be worse. 36 hours later I am home again, yet I might have been gone a week for the tonic of a change of scene with a dear friend. Thanks to Southwest miles, Kindle, smart phones and tablets, making life oh so much easier. And thanks to Jess Walter, whose "Financial Lives of the Poets" was great reading, and might account for this slightly off-kilter narrative.

No matter how far we are never far from family or clients, and don't have to break the bank for a respite. Ah yes, the blessings of a modern age. And friendship.