Lengthy experience often isn’t enough to help with things built and crafted of monumental dumb. Certain batteries, as example, are not permitted in a plane’s cargo hold with the other baggage. Which are banned?

Given the rushed, compelled and incomplete info given at a foreign airport (also infection-port speedily moving disease around the planet) the Ni Cad was OK but the Lithium was not, I think but am not sure because when I tried asking I got a dirty enough look to make me value ignorance.

Anyway, I assume my absent toothbrush was a danger. I couldn’t have given its battery type to save my life, Ni Cad, Lithium or Barium enema all the elementary same to me. So a new thing to study up on during spare time left from reviewing the expanding list of threats to limb and life. Those whose business it is to warn us find (create) an ever more dangerous world around us.  

I had a less personal experience with TSA leaving a nice note in the checked bag that had held my modest size toothpaste and tubes of prescription skin cream. The note did not say what was done, only that something was done. The missing items speaking in absentia for themselves or theirselves if they/thems prefer. A four-inch tube of mint plaque reducer paste and prescription skin creams of similar size seemed innocent enough. The skin creams were in their original boxes with the prescription labels attached.

I’d never conjured the possibility of a mint-flavored skin cream explosive wreaking havoc in the air, but after being stuck without those items while traveling I could imagine (or at least fantasize) such a concoction going off in the face of whoever thought up that threat. I know. Only doing their job. But there is something about work by rote that makes me question. I feel sorry for the persons having to do those jobs.  

Airport as infection-port makes sense when you’re stuck any length of time in most of the ports called International. Gads, the volume of people whooshing overhead at any time is impressive. LaGuardia busy as Heathrow as Cadiz as Rome as O Hare and so on. The amount of traffic is staggering. Amidst thousands of other friendly fliers at O Hare I hoofed from terminal this to terminal that and eventually to terminal other as the “gates” kept changing. I’d have done better had I been able to drop a few decades of experience to shuffle forward in hale and hearty fashion. But after three or four miles I was feeling knackered, ready for the bone yard and glue factory. My feeling, seems, isn’t one much shared.  

I’d say shared but little or not at all by the thirtyish woman I met who was eager (despite the look on my face) to share much of her story. I surrendered. Tell me. In the first half of a nine month sabbatical from her church (apparently generous and well-funded), she’d recently been in Argentina to study redemption through Flamenco (might have been something else, but who knows and does it matter?). Before that it had been a month somewhere else (Central America possibly) to catch up on the latest in God-healthy foods (or something like that). She’d soon be back to the Midwest to visit her cat, currently with her parents who she called daily and included face time with kitty.

A picture builds, does it not?  

After catching up with Miss Puss the blue haired Priest would head for Iceland, before the weather turned too Icelandic, for further religious investigations before continuing to other places for added spiritual growth. The details of her planned activities got blurry for me because I really didn’t care or need to know any of it, and only out of politeness was I listening at all.

Had I let the real me out of hiding I’d have smilingly asked “What’s new in the salvation trade?”   I took a healthy breath, Harry, saved in part by another table companion, a deeply dog-loving veterinarian traveling with her dog, and spent most of her time with it. Kindred animal lovers, Priest and Vet, would slip into mutually rewarding bowed-head session where I wondered if they were going to begin licking and grooming.

Surprisingly, I tried joining the animal worship with a bit here and there about my dog, a malamute. My “pack” relationship with a large work dog was of scant appeal to lovers of substitute-humans under their affectionate domination. My malamute wasn’t much of a lap dog, therefore of little interest to the holy-pet duo who lapsed back to pre-grooming posture. An attempt to disturb the veil failed when I asked what age was best to begin transitioning a kitten. I recognized the look of “I never heard that,” and didn’t follow up.  

Best let sleeping dogs, so to speak, be.  

The Priest was by far the bigger talker able to provide a daily dazzle of some sort. My favorite was her heartfelt conviction that the C of E (more or less her clan) had the world’s best choral music. (Hearing that, I feared for its future.) Nodding benignly (a cautiously reliable way forward) I mused quietly “Yes, but um, Mozart’s Sub Tuum Praesidium is pretty good (glorious sung by Mockel and Cencic), and there’s shape note, and Buddhist throat singing, and Russian Orthodox work equal to Tallis, but C of E choirs are very good.” I guess it was my lack of complete agreement that saw the topic dropped never to rise again.   Now maybe, here comes a good place to grow angry with me, too many younger people are better with pets than people so if you don’t sign-on fully or ask to hear more of their perpetual grind you “don’t get it.”

Nor do I want to hear more and more from young people who can’t sort fluff from accomplishment. For me it’s sad to see conversational skills slip into little more than pandering and self-appreciation. I wonder how this happened, what it means and where it goes.  

A caution. I’ll follow up.