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Vermont Part 1: The Karma Dump

oooooooooooh! Practical!

EDIT: Some industrious Vermonting someone has FOUND this entry—–HOW? I hid it so very carefully, on the internet, and who looks THERE? I am now embarrassed about the typos and weird cut and paste errors that riddle this entry. But not embarrassed enough to battle my broken mouse (see next entry) to fix it.

I left for Montpelier a couple of days after Christmas, heading out for a ten day teaching residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Only a few days before, Atlanta had cancelled a metric buttload of flights due to “Fear of snow.” Not ACTUAL snow, mind you, or even IMPENDING snow. Just the fear of it.

Where I live, when a few flakes frost the air, panicked masses swarm Kroger and snatch up all the bread and milk and pray to whatever gods they worship as they prepare to meet them. So I was a little worried. But the morning dawned clear and fine and every website I went to said my scheduled flights were all still scheduled and on time.

Then the Karma Dump started. First of all, I packed a HUGE suitcase. HUGE. I could have put SCOTT in it, if I hadn’t needed any room for underpants. It had books in it, and the things I bought that I call my practical snow boots. *ahem* Scott raised his eyebrows at them, and said they were neither practical nor technically for SNOW, but, hello, look at them. How do you not buy those when VERMONT gives you the excuse?

I packed ten pairs of work-out socks. And ten pairs of boot socks. I packed a disreputable but extremely comforting gray sweater that looks like it has been made out of the wooly corpses of a hundred mange-soaked mice. I packed every pair of Fantasy Pants I own.

Ten days in Vermont is a LOT of days in Vermont.

When I put the bulging case on the scale, it weighed seventy pounds. Whoopsie. I pared down as best I could, even giving up my comforting cardi since I knew it was an object I wouldn’t wear outside my room. I strained my shampoo into a ten dose mini-bottle. I removed all but the most necessary footwears. Then I tried again, and The One True Scale said it was exactly, perfectly, completely fifty pounds and no ounces.

But as anyone who has ever been forced to stand on the satanic devil scale at the doc’s office KNOWS, other scales, the ones that are NOT standing even now on the single truthful tile in my personal bathroom, are big liars who lie. I wouldn’t; mind being told my 50 pound suitcase was 49, even though that is clearly false and wrongful and against the wise pronouncement of The One True Scale. I feared the airport scale might be truth-impaired in the wrong direction.

Even so, I went to the airport in a spirit of willful optimisim. The One True Scale SAID it was 50 pounds exactly, there it was. I willed the airport scale to bend to truth.

Karma dump….the scale came up exactly at FIFTY. Exactly. 50 and no ounces. It wavered into 51 when she put the paper claim tag on it, but then tipped back to 50 once more. A TINY voice in the back of my head whispered, “Wow You just spent a goodly chunk of travel Karma, didn’t you?”

I poo-poo’d that voice, until I got settled on the big flight to Kennedy, and they called my name. PASSENGER JACKSONPLEASE COME TO THE FRONT OF THE PLANE, a flat-voiced Flight Attendent said in omninous tones over the PA. And then she added the dire words, PLEASE BRING ALL YOUR BELONGINGS.

Hey! It's my shoulder pads.

I knew there had been trouble with delayed flights up north the day before….was I getting bumped to make room for a pilot who HAD to get to JFK to make another flight go? I gathered up my carry on baggages and the enormous black coat I was toting—-DIGRESSION: I have not bought a real coat in more than a decade. Why coat? I live in Georgia. I have JACKETS.

I went up in the attic and rooted around until I found an enormous black broadcloth monster from my Chicago years. It has Shoulder Pads (caps intended) and it was circa 1992, so now I am stumping around Vermont in this thing, which smells of attic-squirrels and dust, looking a bit like I expect to be asked to jam with Prince on the purple rain tour. End Digression.

But when I reached the front of the plane, the flat-voiced Flight Attendant told me I had been bumped to first class. My heart leapt. Terribad rubbery free lunch chicken! Free movies! Hot towels and liquor in teeny bottles and sparkling water in real glasses shaped like pods and extra peanuts if I wanted! WHEEEE! I settled into the roomy chair to watch THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT and drink a complimentary mimosa.

That sour little voice rose up in the back of my head…. you already won the 50 pound luggage lotto….now this….you just spent every drop of Travel Karma you accrued while suffering the airports of tour….you are dooooooomed….dooooomed….doooomed. I dumped some mimosa onto that inner voice and told it shut it. The voice complied with a champagne moistened silence, but it was an unchastened silence. And an unconvinced one. I dumped more mimosa on it.
And then….I arrived at JFK Airport, terminal two, otherwise and henceforth known as the agonizing reaches freshest Hell. But this is a story for another day, as I am trotting off to hear a lecture…more day after tomorrow.

21 comments to Vermont Part 1: The Karma Dump

  • Oh, my goodness, what a tease!

  • Bridget

    You had me at Kennedy airport…

  • Ha! I KNOW this coat of which you speak! My mom just pulled it’s red, Shoulder Padded twin out of her closet. Unfortunately(?) she discovered it had been nearly devoured by moths and so she had to purchase a new, un-Shoulder Padded coat.

  • gillyPanera buzzer

    But Joshilyn, this is just your due as a result of your most recent “Mission of G-d”
    It is your reward for returning the Panera buzzer to it’s home and family.
    Wishing you a year fraught with just these kinds of eperiences

  • gillyPanera buzzer

    oh dear – i should proofread – that should be experiences

  • Christine in Los Angeles

    Oh, Darlin’ — first time online since Christmas Day (I’m battling the Plague), and your post has me laughing/coughing/choking so that I may expire upone sending this. But, it’s been a good life.
    Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
    God bless, Christine

  • Haha big tease. 😛 I love mimosas. Mmmm.

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    absolutely can’t wait until Tuesday . . . .

  • Elizabeth

    Nothing, absolutely nothing good happens at JFK.

  • Brigitte

    And I thought you always stayed completely away from New England, especially in the winter. Though it sounds like JFK may have its way with you and the story may never get to New England . . .

  • I live in Montpelier.


  • Em

    Pink socks!! Pink socks!!!

  • Aimee

    Oh no, that is a LOT of good travel karma. I *was* going to ask if all of those socks you packed were pink, but Em beat me to it. Since I am sure they were NOT pink, I will wait breathlessly for the conclusion of the karma story.

  • rams

    You KNOW I have Pink Sock waiting for you. Don’t make me use it … (I was guessing you’re at the Vermont Studio Center, but it appears not. I may not have to kill you. That is good.)

  • I found you from Long Hollow. I love your site. I’m going to poke around a little bit, but don’t worry I’ll put everything back where I found it!!

  • Methinks the Rightness of the One True Scale and the upgrade to first class was your deep breath before the plunge (to quote Gandalf). I’ve always wanted to go to Vermont, but I had like October in mind rather than January.

  • Melody

    You are the Cliffhanger Queen!!! When I saw that it is continued, I laughed out loud! And I showed my hubbie your “practical snow boots”. Thanks for lightening my load with a laugh today 🙂

  • Sarah

    Are you making any other stops in Texas while you’re going to the Belton conference?

  • Jennifer in NC

    I remember the ’80’s era Shoulder Pads… they made my hips look smaller. Relativity and all that.

  • I’ll drop a hint, ladies. She did indeed make it to Vermont, where I am a novice MFA in residence. And, I’ll tell you that, no matter how many of Dante’s Circles she spiraled in order to get here, she delivered one of the finest lectures I have ever heard. Thank you, Joshilyn for coming. I saw the photo of those boots when you ordered them. I hope you didn’t wear them outside today! Thank you for all you’ve been doing here. What a privilege to listen to your lecture and then meet you!