Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Summer Vacation Part I: Cruising Altitude

As the mother of four kids, I was moved to tears this past Christmas when my husband gave me a trip to Chicago – ALONE! I planned for months, eagerly anticipating time away from my house and kids to play with friends in the Windy City this summer, but I didn’t realize the fun would begin before hitting cruising altitude…

I was 50 pages into a smutty novel about a dysfunctional fiancé who, at that point, was fighting with her mother about the wedding dress, when the plane began to taxi before takeoff. Just then a baby two rows up started to cry. I closed my eyes and smirked, happy to be free of responsibility for the weekend, when I heard the passenger to my right snicker.

I turned toward him with a grin and tried to respond, but when we locked eyes I was stunned to see a familiar smile on this stranger, that of Tom Cruise!

“You have kids?” he asked through his Tom Cruise smile and Tom Cruise eyes. My jaw hit the runway.

Can you handle the truth? I wondered to myself before regaining composure, “yes, I have four.”

“Wow! Four kids. I have one, a daughter. I always feel so bad for parents traveling with their kids, it’s so hard….” Do you know you look just like Tom Cruise, therefore I'm not listening to anything you say? “….but she’s a great traveler now. Do you work outside the home?”

“Oh, uh, no. I do enough inside the home right now. But my baby goes to Kindergarten this fall, so we’ll see what happens next.” You complete me.

“Raising four kids has got to be enough to keep you busy. My ex-wife…” Ex? When did that happen? What was Katie thinking? “…which keeps her really busy. Are you on vacation alone?”

Yes, do you want to come too? “Yes, I'm visiting friends. What about you?”

“I'm going on to Providence for a wedding. One of my buddies is getting married…” Where are your Ray Bans? In your carry-on? “… I've been in Kansas the past year for military officer training…” Hold on – a year? How on earth did I not notice? “…was just promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.”

“Where are you based?” Like, exactly what is your address, and how do I get there?

“I'm based in San Diego.…” I subtly put away my book. I would catch up with Fat Bride someday when Ugly Passenger was seated next to me. Right now I was all about Tom Cruise. “….Marine Corps for 16 years.”

“So, how did you like Kansas?” I attempted to joke. He laughed. I died. It took all my self-control to keep from jumping on my seat a la Oprah.

“It's a lot different from San Diego, for sure. I'm a fighter pilot, (of course you are) I fly helicopters. (of course you do) So pilot training kept me busy…” I bet you do your own stunts too. “…the thing I missed the most, though, was my motorcycle. I love riding it, especially along the ocean, but there’s no way I could have had it here in Kansas this winter.”

Fighter pilot? Motorcycle? Suddenly the theme from “Top Gun” was blazing through my head.

I tried to talk over the music, “My seven-year-old son wants to be a pilot, but he’s already in glasses.”

“I was too,” Tom confessed to me, pointing to his beautiful Tom Cruise eyes. “But I had corrective surgery…” hold on, I’m still riding with you on the motorcycle, “…there are two kinds of surgery, but only one is approved….” take my breath away “…get the military to pay for it.”

“How much longer do you have in Kansas?” K-Mart sucks.

“Just two more weeks, then I'm back home.” Two weeks?!? I feel the need, the need for speed!

The flight attendant came with the drink cart. Please sing to me about how I lost that lovin' feelin’ and then buy me a ginger ale???

He handed me my drink without a serenade. “I’ve got 4 years left before I can retire, and…” show me the money, ”…with my daughter, but there aren't any guarantees.”

”What will you do after you retire?” I asked, hoping the answer was along the lines of moving to Kansas where he'd spend retirement as my pool boy….although we don't have a pool.

He smiled at me again, with Tom Cruise’s lips and Tom Cruise’s teeth and Tom Cruise’s eye wrinkles and Tom Cruise’s hair, “I don't know yet, but I have a few ideas…”

That’s okay, Maverick, you had me at “hello.”


Katie P said...

oh so you were sitting next to Greg on your way to Chicago, I never knew!!!!!! Ha Ha!!!

la_vie_en_shoes said...

Highway to the Danger Zone, baby!

I love this entry--I laughed all the way through!

Anonymous said...

I shall be honest....I have always had a crush on Tom Cruise. Ever since his underware dancing days he's had a place in my heart. I even had his poster hanging in my bedroom in jr. high...and then he divorced the other red head in his life and danced on a couch.

Kristie said...

Another great one Julie! Keep 'em coming!

Kristi said...

You completely crack me up! I'm still laughing from your witty description of your Tom encounter. Take me to bed or lose me forever!

Tova Darling said...

If Tom Cruise leaves Katie, I'm sending an anonymous tip to all of the tabloids that you caused the breakup. :)

Moi said...

very cute! I loved all the movie clips - very clever!
Brad Pitt eats at this pizza place by my moms house. I always hope he will happen to be there when we visit!

Morgan the Muse said...

Uhm... well... I do not like Tom Cruise. So... yeah.