I just returned from a trip to Denver. I spoke for the Hillel there at a funky art gallery. Awesome venue. I always like to speak for college students, and especially to Hillel donors. I share what a huge influence Hillel had on me during my 12 years of undergraduate and graduate school at UCLA, and how Hillel shaped my Jewish adulthood and life in ways no other organization ever has. It was a very nice trip.
Here are three things I am grateful for from the trip:
1. Breastfeeding mama on my airplane. When I see babies boarding planes I am also boarding, I get nervous. I am very jittery on planes as it is, and a screaming small person on planes makes me even more jittery. Kids and babies are like a fuse about to burst at any minute; they make me anxious even though I know it’s normal and natural blah blah blah.
The woman with the toddler and baby and husband on our plane had the baby in an Ergo carrier, which boded well since in my experience, Ergo mamas tend to be breastfeeders, and as I said on the flap of my book on Attachment Parenting, there’s not a much happier baby on an airplane than a breastfeeding baby on an airplane. Since they love nursing, they’ll pretty much nurse anytime, anywhere and in any position. And nursing babies and toddlers know the value of nursing until they fall asleep, which comes in handy on a plane (since you can’t pace or rock and the whole “self- soothing” thing doesn’t quite “fly” the same on a plane as it does in your home…) And when babies are nursing, they are by definition not screaming. So thank you, breastfeeding mama on my airplane.
2. Funky Denver. There was coconut yogurt as a snack for me when I arrived at the event. “What!? Coconut yogurt!” you say. I KNOW! I had never tasted such a thing. It was very yummy! Thank you, funky Denver, for having things such as coconut yogurt for me to snack on at my event. And I even have a funky Denver friend who picked me up at the airport and drove me to my event with her new husband. Very good Denver hospitality. Side note: I found out that new husband of said funky friend is not as liberal as I am which led me to possibly sound like a liberal lunatic as we discussed the week in news, but also leads me to #3….
3. Freedom. I know not everyone is a bleeding-heart liberal like I am, and that’s okay. I know not everyone loves Phil Ochs’ anti-war anthems of the 1960s or opposes the death penalty no matter what, and that’s also okay. It’s what makes America America. But I want to say that I am very comfortable–finally, at 37!–with my politics and I am happy to be the kind of liberal who allows others their opinions even if I think they are wrong. You know, defending to the death your right to say things I don’t believe in, Thomas Paine-like and all. I used to be confused about where I stood on certain political things because I was very easily influenced by others’ judgment of me, and it’s not that I’m always confident and never intimidated or stumped anymore, but I also have thought long and hard to face the difficult questions about Miranda rights and the death penalty and human rights and what is a freedom fighter versus a terrorist and all of that sort of thing. I am thankful for the freedom to do that.
Here are three things I am not grateful for this trip:
1. 4:20 man. The man on my plane with the “Amsterdam Time 4:20” hat smells very strongly of marijuana. Now, this is not a condemnation of marijuana or a judgment on whether or not I think he should be allowed to smoke it, but I am very sure that I didn’t want to inhale his pot smell on the two hour flight. 1000% sure.
2. Row 13. I flew on a tiny 13-row plane to and from Denver. I usually love the last row of airplanes because I like to be close to the bathroom. Well, on a 13-row airplane, the last row is practically in the bathroom. So there was that. In addition, I guess the stowage compartment for suitcases and dogs in crates is directly behind row 13, because there was the sound of a small dog barking sadly and heart-wrenchingly in what was obviously his tiny sad miserable crate behind the wall behind row 13. It made me very sad. I put on earplugs and convinced myself he was taking a nap.
3. Weak Mexican food. One of the easiest things for a vegan to eat when out and about or in an airport is Mexican food. It’s got veggies, beans (check that there is no lard in them!), rice, guacamole (make sure they don’t add sour cream as a filler!) and salsa, all in a (lard-free!) tortilla. That’s protein, healthy fat, and yummy-ness, right? Well, what’s up with airport Mexican food that uses the same rice for Mexican food that they do for the Chinese food places? It makes me crazy. You can’t use Chinese rice for Mexican food, it’s just wrong. Anyway. I’ll get over it, it just bugged me.
Those are the highlights of my trip. I hope everyone has a good start to the week, and that this week’s news brings hope and solace to all of those mourning, grieving, and recovering in our country.