Warmest regards: How did I get so jaded?
By PATTIE MIHALIK
I’ve always liked airplanes, even though the closest I got to one as a kid was watching them fly among the clouds.
Then I married Andy, who was totally fascinated by airplanes. When we went to visit my father who lived near the Philadelphia Airport we usually went to watch the planes take off and land.
At the time, the airport had one of those machines you could look through to see the planes magnified a bit.
That was our simple idea of fun, I guess.
The thing is, for decades neither of us ever flew anywhere. We just liked watching the planes.
Looking back on those years, I see where life was so simple then. We found pleasure in so many small things, things like watching seagulls in flight and watching airplanes get bigger as they approached the airfield.
We never thought about flying anywhere because we were wrapped up in raising a family and enjoying life with our big extended family.
But all that changed when I saw an advertisement from Eastern Airlines offering membership in its Weekend Club. For a small fee, so small it was impossible to believe, we could join the Weekend Club that would offer us last-minute minivacations at bargain prices.
The thing was, the flight destinations were announced only a day or two ahead of time.
As I recall, each Thursday I received in the mail a list of about three or four possible destinations. To reserve a spot, we had to act right away.
It was part of the fun not to know where we were going when we picked our travel time. We packed a weekend suitcase only knowing we would pick someplace warm.
We were like two delighted kids when we had the chance to fly to San Juan, San Francisco and Florida.
The trips came as a package, complete with a cheap flight, a nice place to stay and transportation to and from the airports.
No stress, no strain, just a little bit of heaven.
I remember there were some glitches to our San Juan trip in that we had to wait hours at the airport before the hotel sent transportation.
I didn’t mind one bit. It was all one wonderful adventure. I didn’t even mind getting to the great hotel then having to wait until 2 in the morning before we could get in our room. To make up for the delay, management gave us a penthouse suite.
Next, we signed up for a trip to the Galápagos Islands, my absolute dream destination. I always wanted to go there but never could afford it until it became a Weekend Club bargain.
Unfortunately, the trip never happened because that week Eastern Airlines declared bankruptcy and closed its Weekender Club.
One would think after we got a taste of flying we would do it on our own. But the only time I flew after that was to visit friends in Florida.
I enjoyed everything about those airline flights, even the long delays. It gave me more time to people watch in the airport.
Well, through the years the magic must have faded because when I flew to Maine last week for a family vacation, I was complaining to myself like an old crank.
I complained about a four-hour layover in Baltimore and grumbled to myself when a big woman with a heavy suitcase hit me in the head with her bag twice. She hit every passenger she passed because she couldn’t manage to fit through the aisle with her oversized suitcase.
While I was thinking ill thoughts about her, two gentlemen jumped up to help her with her luggage so she didn’t hit anyone else. Instead of sitting there in judgment, they solved the problem by storing the suitcase in an overhead bin.
I inwardly groaned when the woman plopped down in the middle seat beside me. She was too big for the seat and I had to keep my arms pinned to my side because she overflowed into my seat.
Then I realized my love of flying was diminishing because I had become jaded.
Shame on me, I thought. How did I ever become this jaded?
I never want to be jaded about anything.
After I gave myself the attitude adjustment I needed, I got back on track and actually enjoyed conversation with the woman.
It’s true that attitude is everything. Life loses its luster if you allow yourself to become jaded … or, if you take things for granted.
I don’t want to take anything for granted. Rather, I want to say thank you for every little thing that comes my way, whether it’s flying, being on the water, or just having a beautiful day to enjoy.
Every time I swim in my pool, which is every day in this blazing hot summer, I remember to say thank you. Even after more than a decade of having a pool I don’t take it for granted.
I still can’t believe that the kid from the coal region who thought it was “big stuff” to bike to the community pool actually has one of her own.
My sense of wonder has lessened through the years. Maybe that’s to be expected when we’re not children anymore.
But I know I will try hard not to become jaded or to let my gratitude diminish.