Love in the Time of Corona, Part 3 Flying Home to New Orleans


March 15, 2020. Beware the Ides of March. Or don’t. My computer battery died and I’m at 35,000 feet. The pressure change caused a build-up in the ink chamber so it ejaculated greenish black ink into the cap (remember being a teenager?) so that when I removed it my hands got Dalmatianed with ink. Inconvenient but I kind of like it. I’m in Southwest First Class which is that one seat by the exit on the portside, the seat without a seat in front of it. Compared to the other domestic airlines, Southwest’s seats seem to be the widest. Even so, at 6’5”, 260lb, I’m not a small feller. After the battery dies and I have my ink baptism, I’m ready to start trying again. No, not trying. Doing. I’m writing again and enjoying it. What did the urgency of the dying battery give me?
The Pen. I remember the Pen. Odd, that I should have to be reminded of such since it was the Pen that saved me many times. It saved me in Iraq. It saved me when I came home.
And such a nice pen this one is, it was given to me by my dear friend whom I’ve never met in person, Kyle White. He is an aerospace engineer out there in Carona Ground Zero- Seattle, Washington. We’ve visited for hours and hours over video chat before beginning our very real friendship over electronic means. I love him and from time to time I have found myself chuckling at my friend. He can be a bit of a hypochondriac and is prone to anxiety as I think a lot of scientists can be. (Could it be they know enough to know we should all be much more afraid?) I wonder what would happen if, when we have dealt with this virus, we turned our immediate attention in a similar way to deal with, to the extent that we are even able to, Global Climate Change. It will kill us just the same! Dammit, now it looks like I’m running out of ink. There’s no way I’m going to try that maneuver (drawing ink from the bottle) inside the cabin of a commercial aircraft.
I’ve switched now to the Mont Blanc with blue ink that my brother gave me the day we graduated from the University of Alabama. I am the first Key man to graduate college (to my knowledge) and that only by a few hours in that my “little” brother Chad (football player at Bama) graduated in the afternoon commencement while I’d walked that morning with Arts and Sciences. The pen is precious to me and therefore rarely leaves the house (this was a special, spiritual trip to the City of Angels and I had no idea that was what the Universe was up to when I embarked. When someone gifts me a pen, I think of it as an energetic support of my writing whether they had that conscious thought in the giving or not.  It feels ritualistic.


But look, we’re landing now anyway. They just gave the “tray tables up” announcement and Miss Thing will soon be walking down the aisle to give me the stank-eye if I haven’t wrapped up and put away everything but a thank you. We’re landing in Dallas.


Aboard Southwest Flight #1092 Dallas to New Orleans.

Ebony followed me onto this plane from the previous leg and by “followed” I mean she was scheduled as a flight attendant on both of my flights and by “my” I mean the flights I have tickets for. She and her fellow flight attendants spoiled me rotten on the first leg. It turns out her coworker is a Marine and when she found out I was one as well, the Jack Daniels and snacks flowed freely. Semper Fidelis and God Bless America!

This Coronavirus thing is no-shit. I wouldn’t even have left of the trip if I’d known the severity of the situation. I guess I’d been taken one of those rare but badly needed breaks from “the news.” I turned around and people were dropping dead. Feels familiar.
I’ll hope for the best as to what I’ll find there in my little veterans’ community when I get home to New Orleans. Usually when a great catastrophe hits New Orleans, the first thing people do is get physically close together. In this case we’ve been told to stay far apart. It will break my heart to see little King running toward me and I can’t scoop him up and hug him!
May these dark times pass quickly.


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