Atlanta, I'm here. Exhausted. But all unpacked and full of stories.
Number one, I have overpacked. As usual. Freaking out too much about missing something, so my shoulders are dead. And it's warm here like it's summer. You can imagine what that did to me walking around in a winter coat and winter boots, with a backpack that was glued to my back. I think I sweated through my coat, but surprisingly my feet were comfortable. Amazing. Sorel boots did their job. But boots aside...when I was waiting for the plane, I sat directly under a big TV screen that broadcasted the inauguration, and I was too tired to get up and move, and there wasn't anywhere to move to, unless I sat on the floor. So even though I didn't want to, I watched bits and pieces of it, and my hair stood on end. Finally I went to take a long pee—it felt glorious, and by the time I returned, the presidential speech was over.
There was a man standing next to me, with a button with TRUMP PENCE 2016 written on it. I stared at him against my better judgement, and he looked back at me until our staring at one another became uncomfortable and we looked other ways. And I wondered, what did that man think? He probably had very good intentions at heart when voting, and I wondered if he were aware of what it is exactly he had voted for. I looked around the waiting room, and all faces were turned up to the screen. I wished I could read those people's thoughts, wished we all had a discussion, and it wasn't possible. And that made me sad, watching people passively look at what was unfolding, watching myself passively stand there and stare at the TV.
But then on the plane I sat next to a couple with an adorable baby girl, and she smiled at me constantly, so I could help it but feel better and smile back. That is, until her father called a flight attendant—he needed a glass of water—but the attendant didn't see him, though he was only a few rows away from her, directly in the attendant's line of view. She was a white middle-aged woman. He was a black man in his thirties. Since I started writing Janna, I became hyper-aware of many little nuances of behavior that is automatically racist without people even giving it a second thought. So I waved to the attendant. She immediately looked at me and came over. I pointed to my neighbor. It was only then that she saw him. But everyone noticed the cute little baby girl. The girl was very interested in the book she was holding, and her parents told me she is only one year old, but already she flips the flash cards with words on them the right side up. And I was thinking, when will that moment come when she will realize that her skin is brown and that it means more than just color? When? When she is three? Five? Ten? It made my skin crawl. There was light in her eyes. She was excited to learn.
Upon parting I told the little girl to read books, and to write her stories. We shared a moment of looking at each other. I believe she heard me.
Then more adventures happened. I'm a techie idiot. Also, a geographical idiot. I've downloaded the Uber app, but have never used it before, so it took me 30 minutes to figure it out. Then I was standing in the wrong spot, and the driver finally just drove up and got me, and told me that I have somehow managed to "hack" the system because all Uber riders wait in this one airport parking lot, but I was far enough that I got around it, and the app didn't recognize my location and didn't send me to the rest of the waiting riders. So there. Imagine! The driver's name was Michael, and he told me he does fashion design and sells his clothes, but it's nice to have Uber on the side, so I told him I write and I also edit on the side, for added income. We parted by the house where Lucy and Eric have offered me this wonderful room. Love Airbnb.
As I'm typing this, I have finally unpacked and eaten dinner and dropped to bed. (Well, I'm typing in bed.) Dinner, by the way, was amazing. Ribs from We're All About it BBQ—a family business—their cashier a budding singer. I came in just before they closed, so we talked about Russia and borscht and food and books. It was lovely, and I taught them how to say hello and goodbye in Russian: Privet! (Hello!) and Poka! (Googbye!)
And tomorrow! The ceremony! For Rosehead! I mean, the award thing that's making me so excited and so scared! Because I need to write up something. I mean, if I have to get up there and say a few words, I gotta think about those few words. But that's tomorrow. Today there is one important thing left to do. SLEEP.
P.S.: I didn't finish that post on The Silence of the Lambs yet, dammit. But it's coming. I swear it is. It's cooking slowly in my brain.