We had a wonderful time in Philadelphia. We saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Ben Franklin's grave. We climbed the steps of the Museum of Art. We had dinner at City Tavern. We ate Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches. We worshipped in historic Christ Church. We sat at street cafes and people-watched.
Oh, yeah, the conference was nice, too.
Even the flights weren't too bad. No late starts, no extended layovers, no missed flights, and I was able to finish reading my Toni Morrison novel. Very pleasant.
Except for the last flight home, from Atlanta to Little Rock. There was a woman on the plane (one row behind me on the other side of the aisle) that almost drove me crazy. Imagine a thirty-something woman with a Valley Girl accent and a voice that carries. Now, imagine her telling her life story to the woman sitting with her, with a special emphasis on the life and times of her daughter Natalieeeeeeeeee and her son Cooperrrrrrrrrr and how utterly special they are--so intelligent! so individualistic! I now know about their play groups, the first time she left them for any length of time, and how her in-laws try to manipulate them into staying at their home every time they visit. I know what magazines she reads (Town & Country's her favorite), where her best friend now lives (Denver), and that another friend recently had her mother cremated and is now struggling with that decision. I discovered that one friend just moved out into the country and she's worried about her with no support network, but she's been relieved to find out her friend has wonderful neighbors. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
The more I tried not to listen, the more she seemed to be all I could hear. The girl right across the aisle from me started the flight trying to study, slowly moved forward in her seat (to escape the offending voice, I'm certain), and finally surrendered and put away her note cards. She spent the rest of the flight hunkered over, elbows on knees, hands over her ears. Defeated.
I tried a time or two to just turn around and look at her, hoping she'd take it as a gentle hint. Nope. Never noticed. Just kept that storyline going.
Next flight, I'm taking ear plugs.