Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Karma Rides Again

I recall an incident from 2013 when my love was alive and the niggly details of cohabitation were at the forefront.

We are on a plane for a short domestic flight and a flight attendant offers the usual complimentary beverage. I ask for bubbly water but Michael declines his own a drink, saying, “I’ll just share hers.”

Now, everyone knows that flying dehydrates the cells of this precious human body. Thus, with the prospect of him having his very own free drink but deciding to partake of mine instead, indignation sets in.

I insist, “No, get your own! I need all the water I can get!” 

 The tactful attendant wards off the onset of bad vibes by saying, “I’ll bring you a can and you can share it.” Michael acquiesces with a smile and goes back to memorizing the LA Times. (He’s not an idiot savant – just an incredibly bright guy who never smoked dope.)

I am in the midst of gulping our shared can of bubbly water when another attendant comes through with a garbage bag and asks, “Are you through?”

Quick as a cat, Michael takes the can and my half-full glass and hands it over. Before I can utter the words of protest, "No, not yet,” the garbage bag has moved down the aisle with my can of soda water and cup forever buried.

Masking hysteria with a calm voice, I turn to Michael and say semi-politely, “Why did you give him my drink? I wasn’t finished.”

The answer: “I thought you said you were finished.”

“No! I said I wasn’t finished.”

“I heard you say you were finished.”

Now a slight whine garnishes my reply. “I said I wasn’t finished.”

He stubbornly insists, “I heard you say you were finished.”

In the absence of a King Soloman, we go into 'retreat and withdraw' mode and carry on within our own worlds, an armrest apart.


Michael wanted to drink from my cup in an act of collective intimacy and I defaulted to self-preservation. His subconscious reacted and paid me back by banishing half of my drink, gone not by way of his gullet but by plastic garbage bag. My fear of sharing half of my drink brought about the exact consequence I feared - losing half of my drink.

Despite this aggravating turn of events and my unquenched thirst, the glorious red desert beneath the wings offers up beauty and wonder...and I chill out and let go into relaxed goodwill.

At that moment, karma rears its head again, but this time in a lovely fashion. The flight attendant catches my eye and hands me an unopened can of bubbly water "for the road," even though cabin service ended twenty minutes ago and the loudspeaker is barking at us, “Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for landing.”

Rendered speechless by this unsolicited generosity, I can only wonder: is it really true that one can ask and receive, even if the road's twists and turns obscure what lies ahead?

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