Friday, November 16, 2012

Noticing


I notice I have no idea how I got here, when I learned to walk further at the metro station to be closer to the stairs at my next stop, when I learned how to make the most of the hours not between 9am-5pm, when I learned to combine Banana Republic suit pants with button downs in a manner appropriate for a semi-professional, when I began to think of Washington, D.C. as home.

But “here” right now is Cincinnati. “Cin-City” Jules jokingly texted. And I’m noticing I have no idea how I got here.

At the airport last Monday, I noticed how ‘off’ I was—how much I had hibernated. Airports are typically my zone. Flights are my haven. It’s me time: time to think, time to pray, time to process. Flights are when I typically have no one to account for but myself. When I can do things my way, minus the entire security system— in which case ‘my way’ would include not having my bare feet touch the floor or taking my belt off amidst strangers.

“Do you fly often?” I recently heard two people behind me discussing on a flight. “Yeah,” I wanted to turn around and say. “I have it down to an art.” Back then, I’d have pulled out my travel size blanket, nuzzle against the window, take out my journal and pop in my headphones. That’s an incredibly spoiled thing to admit. I flew eight times this summer.

So when I found myself at the Reagan National Airport, stepping onto a Delta plane with my co-workers for a conference, I couldn’t help but notice how much I’d slacked off in the several months that I’ve been in D.C. Why did I wear shoes with laces that were harder to slip on and off? Where were my headphones? I had been so quick to shut down the “on the go” mentality—throwing it out the window of my last flight on a Boeing 747, watching it drift through the clouds down to somewhere geographically untouchable. Only last Monday, I noticed I needed it back. And I couldn’t seem to find it amidst the overgrowth.

Perhaps this is all irrelevant. It doesn't matter. What matters is that I am noticing, better late than never, all these small but significant changes occurring in my life. I notice the dust on the “Kate manual for successful airport etiquette.” My disorientation upon arriving at a new destination. And how jarring it felt to leave the comfort of my new home.

But most importantly, I notice the need to notice. Hopefully, so that I notice things more often.