http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=207 Anyone who has ever known or cared about someone who is 'different' needs to check this out. It's an hour-long program, but even if you only listen to the first section it's more than worth it. I guarantee it will put a smile on your face.
After being bumped off of my direct flight from Santa Barbara to Seattle on Sunday evening I was faced with the impossible choices of renting a car and hightailing it to LAX or spending another night in SB and flying out the next day. Standing in the stucco and tiled lobby of the miniscule airport, tears of frustration and anger streaming down my face and falling unimpeded in big plops on my computer bag, I dialed S's phone number seeking advice from the seasoned traveler. I had no real choice but to get home that night. S. was flying out on a 6AM flight Monday morning and I had to be home with the girls.
I decided to drive to L.A. Never mind the fact that I was scared out of my mind. I had never driven to Los Angeles and imagined it a labyrinth of streets I couldn't identify, a confusing maze of people and cars with no clear path to my destination. I had no idea how long it would take and was afraid to book myself on a flight I had no chance of making.
I settled in to the scratchy black fabric seat of the Dodge Neon, adjusted the mirrors and screamed out of the parking lot, taking my aggressions out on the tires and the pavement. Petty, but it always makes me feel better.
I merged on to Highway 101 and headed South with no problems. Less than one mile south of town the highway parallels the coastline - beaches full of gorgeous Southern California bodies tanned and bikini-clad - a fashion show for the too-young-for-cellulite crowd. Broad shouldered boys in baggy Hawaiian print trunks straddle their surfboards aware of the exact position of the girls on beach towels watching them. Their bravado glues their feet to the boards and straightens their spines, the challenge of hardbodied spectators a boost to their athletic prowess.
I couldn't see any of it. Although it was only 5:00 the fog cloaked the surf and sand and steamed across 101, slowing traffic to a crawl. After 20 miles of creeping along at 20mph, grinding my molars together and checking the dashboard clock I had to remind myself to breathe. My shoulders hovered somewhere up around my ears, curling forward in a posture I was sure I'd regret come morning, wherever I found myself. Just past Ojai, I turned on the radio and found the local NPR station. Six o'clock - This American Life. Within five minutes I was resting back against the seat and laughing out loud. I rolled in to LAX at five minutes after 8:00 - having missed my flight but not caring a lick. I knew I'd make it home tonight and I had Ira Glass to thank for pointing out what's real.