Tuesday, December 2, 2008
“Play has been man's most useful preoccupation.”
Whenever I meet Mater at an airport, no matter which one of us is arriving, I prefer to see her before she sees me.
On one such occasion last year Spouse and I reached the airport a little later than intended and glimpsed, by chance, a freshly-landed Mater pressed into a corner. Her back was turned to us and she was happily engaged using a public telephone.
My cell phone soon rang in response; but when we exchanged greetings I never mentioned that I was within sight. I said, instead, as my feet crept me inch by inch toward her, that we were in the car, a good twenty minutes from the airport and miserably embroiled in a traffic jam.
Mater replaced the receiver, turned around to explore the airport, and bumped into two people whose grinning, triumphant faces were shockingly familiar to those she had been promised were far away.
The conquest to see Mater before she saw me- that began six years ago when she made her first visit to California, when she fortuitously saw Spouse and I scanning the crowds. She shuffled soundlessly up behind us, put a weary traveller's hand on my shoulder and breathed into my ear: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
I wager I leaped about a foot into the air at the fright of a stranger's whisper. I have since made every attempt to be victorious in my endeavours but it depends entirely on the particular airport and the time of day at which one lands.
I will be boarding a plane to Ireland next week; by hook or by crook I fully intend to try the Dr. Livingstone trick on my unsuspecting mother. Unsuspecting, I presume.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 8:47 AM