Musings and Mirth
12 always seemed like a milestone year to me. 12 is so different from 13, and 14, and 15, and 16 and 17, and 18. When we are growing up, each year represents a whole and particular time in our lives. What does 12 send you back to? It takes me back to the awkward years. There were a few things that saved me when I was 12. My time spent with my best friend Clara, and movies. Movies were especially helpful in making 12 go down a little easier.
All of the years I’ve been reading about the Cannes film fest and no one ever mentioned that there are little sparrows roaming around, setting up camp, and pestering the passengers before.
As I left very early Thursday morning, en route to Germany and then back to Los Angeles (more on that marathon flight in a moment) I caught the sunrise at the Nice Airport and declared it to be the prettiest airport I’d ever sat in. The thing about Europeans is that they do everything just a bit nicer than we do it here. There is much to love about being here in Los Angeles – my creature comforts are within a five mile radius – coffee, yoga, Whole Foods – but the quality of life overall seems, to me, nicer in parts of France and Italy. How can I explain it?
Like this sculpture just a-sitting there in the terminal. One can’t believe it.
Sunrise at the Nice airport was something to behold. The whole terminal seemed designed for beauty – the sea, the mountains, the sky. Oh, and I really learned the value of being the early bird because if you can get there earliest you can select a better seat. If you arrive late, you have to take what they have left.
Birds soared right and left, and would bravely land on my table, knowing they might get a crumb or two.
Some might be inclined to consider them unsightly or germ spreaders – but to me they were little bursts of life. And I needed it at 6am. I’d woken up at 4am and lugged my bags down my hobbit stairs at the B&B I was staying in. I could have taken the train and then a cab from the Nice station – but frankly, lugging my bag up and down the stairs was a horrific prospect at 4am, so I just dropped $100 on a cab.
This turned out to be the best choice as I was there easily and early and mostly sweat free.
You never want to be behind me in the security line, trust me, especially this time. I was wearing boots, which meant I had to pull them off each time. But it wasn’t just boots, it was:
Laptop out of bag
So, all told, around four or five treys. Not a pretty picture. Each time I was certain I would forget something. But I didn’t lose a damned thing – not a ticket, not a boarding pass, not a key – I remembered it all.
When I finally lugged all of my shit to the terminal to hunker down until my 7:45am flight, I was relieved to see that bright, pastel sunrise – an impressionist’s inspiration if ever there was one.
And then there is the matter of home. It didn’t really hit me until last night how homesick I am. I started to panic for the first time because I realized that my little girl is at home feeling a sense of unwanted independence for the first time herself. I was such a scared kid growing up, with many opportunities to feel the panic of having been left, that I was determined to never have her feel that way. This is probably why I did not let her go for a full two weeks after she was born. I did not even put her down — oh maybe I did when I had to change her diaper.
Since then, she has been with me almost every day of her life, give a sleepover or two here or there. Never more than two nights has she been away from me. And so these ten days have been hard on her. Good for her ultimately, I think, because she is growing up. She’s 12 and that’s old enough to start feeling independence. I am not worried about her nor do I feel the need to rush back and “rescue” her. That would send the message back to her that she can’t handle it. She CAN handle it. She’s a strong and capable girl.
Being at Cannes is like uncorking a bottle of champagne. It maybe spills over a little bit, tastes sweet and pungent. You feel like you’re a part of a party just because you’re drinking it. It is cause for celebration and yet it is its own thing. I feel out of sorts in a way, but in another way, totally at home. I could do this permanently. Well, if it weren’t for the fact that I miss my child too much. That is the part of it I don’t like so much.
I have spent many days away from Los Angeles and California and I always find myself not just coming back – but anguishing over not being around my own cozy little corner of the world. I have Los Angeles in my biology somehow and that too is a fact.
I am sitting in my room at my affordable, charming B&B at 4am because, typically, jet lag hits the second day. I just can’t sleep. So I figured I’d sit up, turn on the light and use the quiet, coffee-less hours to get some work done. These are long days, covering the Cannes film fest. Long days, clockless, timeless days. I came in at midnight and so that means I’ve had four hours of sleep, if that. Part of the problem is that someone came through the upstairs and made lots of noise, waking me up. Once up, I couldn’t drift back down.
World’s worst plane flight from Chicago to Zurich had me crunched in like a sardine with no leg room, no way to sleep and a flight wherein I had to sleep because come the next day I would be dragging all of my over-packed luggage down La Croisette looking around like a bumbling tourist. “Where is the place where you get the thingys?” And then dragging my too-heavy luggage up the street to find the place where I’ll be staying.
The Zurich airport, and the Swiss in general, are quiet people. It’s a quiet and well-mannered culture, I’m finding. Or perhaps I am just imagining it. It’s always strange to be in Europe with the oddly pronged outlets and the toilettes, all that smell curiously of the sea, even if the sea is miles away.
I’m already blinded by lack of sleep and am hoping the next three hours and subsequent flight to Nice go decently.
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