Planes, trains, and vacation love
A trip brings out a husband's ardor for his wife as he gushes compliments in her direction.
"I really love you!" I blurt out apropos of nothing.Skip to next paragraph
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My wife, Janet, sitting across the aisle on the plane to Denver, looks up from her reading and gives me her usual gracious English smile.
The stewardess pushing the drink cart gives us her usual automatic smile.
Janet goes back to her book. She is used to my airplane outbursts of adoration. She tells me she never tires of hearing them. And I believe her.
We are going to the Telluride Film Festival. The journey involves rapid plane changes, checked (therefore assumed to be misdirected) luggage, and a long midnight car ride. But I don't mind. I'm unconcerned with the possibility of luggage diverted to Telemark, Norway, because, as usual, I'm head over heels, gaga with "vacation love." Over the long 16-film weekend, my devotion will be declared at traditional times. Shouting out "Wow, do I ever love you!" while gazing up at a glorious Rockies sunset. But also blurted out at atypical moments, like when each of us is holding a sauerkraut-dripping bratwurst sandwich while waiting in line at 10 p.m. for a Spanish animated film.
I don't need a wink or smile or plunging décolletage to set off these intense feelings. These bursts of love occur without any logical reason during every holiday. It's happened in a Rome museum contemplating the hindquarters of Marcus Aurelius's steed and while trying to locate a 16-letter Welsh town in a driving rainstorm.
I have noticed that food, especially, seems to jump-start my emotions. Over the 10 years of our relationship I have declared my love while slurping sesame noodles in a Queens restaurant and diving into a fish pie for smoked mackerel in a London oyster house. I have expressed my devotion and adoration over breakfast in St. Louis as Janet, nodding in thanks, downs two cheeseburgers perched on a bed of fried potatoes covered in chili, chopped onions, and shredded cheese. (English boarding school graduates have no concept of unfinished plates of even semiedible food.)
Once a plane takes off or we hit an Interstate, my feelings for my wife speed up. Now, it is not as if I express my love only when we're away from home. But once that suitcase is packed everything intensifies. My excitement mounts with each mile we travel, which is why I am undoubtedly the only passenger in coach looking forward to the 12-hour flight from San Francisco to Paris.