Ever since I used Harper’s last monologue from Tony Kushner’s Angel in America in my last acting class in college, I’ve been waiting (just like every other female drama geek aged 18-35) to take my “night flight to San Francisco.” Basically, it’s the airplane ride you take from New York, where your Mormon, closeted gay husband is making you insane, and escape to freedom and independence on the West Coast.
I’ve taken many airplane rides since I first studied that monologue 5 (gulp) years ago, but none ever provided quite the liberation I was looking for, until I actually took a real night flight to San Francisco last week. However, rather than an escape, this trip marked the last random thing I would do before settling into a new full-time job.
The good news is, I’m totally psyched about my new job. By time I got on the plane ride home (night flight to New York City) I was totally ready to move on with my new life. The bad news is that I was so excited to be home, I started to worry that the plan was going to crash.
Never in my entire life have I worried that a plane was going to crash. In fact, I have secretly laughed in the faces of people who worried the plane was going to crash. (sorry, Mom.) But all the sudden, I was convinced.
As my cousin dropped me off the airport, I gave her specific instructions on what to tell all my family members (something along the lines of, “I love you.”) I texted my brother to tell him to have a beautiful life. I texted my mother saying, “I love you, and if something happens, please scatter my ashes in the Pacific Ocean.”
Suffice it say, I landed in New York and went to work. Later, I called my mother to tell her I’d arrived.
“I really thought I was going to die on that plane,” I told her. “Could you tell?”
She laughed. “You mean because you were sending me text messages about where to scatter your ashes?”
“I could tell, but meanwhile the whole time, I all could think…” I expected her to reveal something about her own flying anxieties, or confess that she’d stayed up all night worrying about me. She continued, “All I could think was: What were you thinking? I figured you were totally losing it because, if you died in a plane crash, I wasn’t going to have any ashes to scatter. Totally illogical.”
I guess she’s gotten over Jewish-motherhood.