“The Glass Ceiling Holds” marches the article title of the NYT Sunday edition, flapped by the woman to my left. She
drinks her Fat Tire, and I, my wine. The woman to my right pauses from her reading to mention “Canned wine? You’ll have to tell me how it is” before she resumes her dive into The Andy Cohen stories.
Lady Left poses as the model of prep, sweater layered over Oxford, classy-bedazzled watch dancing in the airplane
seat’s spot light. The reading light was just out of her reach, but my long arms could press the clicky button.
Lady Right turned hers on too, politely asking if it bothered me. Of course it didn’t, and I was satisfied with
humanity in that moment. But you couldn’t tell beneath my deep hood and effective ear buds.
Lady Right is what a put-together middle aged woman should be. Her royal blue sweater and boots, of some recent
season’s fashionable-enough trend, are elevated to timeless by her gem-laden rings and earrings that make me jealous. I am a blonde, white lady envying blonde, white ladies. Amusingly, my original typo claimed i was a “blonde white lay”. That I am, that I am.
In the wake of the catastrophically manic bad dream where we, the US peoples, elected Donald Trump to be the leader of the free world, three ladies are on a plane going from Denver to Chicago, blue to blue. I sit in my mismatched pile of clothing: poncho, boot cut jeans, leather boots with clinky metal bits that a Hells Angel Christmas Elf would wear. I am not them but I am them. Three blonde white ladies politely taking up no more space than their budget-airline seat allows, sit in silence. Maybe we collectively sigh, feeling the Alice-in-Wonderland-growth of our sex smashing our collective self into that glass ceiling that will not break or budge. Maybe I imagine that.
But what do we do now? What do I do now? Do I set aside my white wine, picking up a picketing sign? Find my voice in the depths of a centuries-dry inkwell, writing my representatives for justice with a foreign made ballpoint piece of plastic? Throw the excess money of the luxury life of consulting at pro-choice orgs and political anti-machines?
Do I stop crying on planes from the sadness tattooed on my heart by my career/life insignificance? Do I get
stronger/weirder and write all my feelings on my little corner of the internet? Do I hide from my family knowing they voted from their hearts for a man today doesn’t value women?
Maybe I start fixing the world from newer, uncorrupted place. I can whisper sleepy thoughts to my new niece, telling her she’s worth the world, with her brilliant, growing brain and big eyes that soak up everything. Maybe her eyes will see her laughing, loony, strong grandmother. Maybe they’ll see her lecturing, bossing, run-the-world-with-ease mother. Maybe her eyes will see her father’s respect for women and his absolute belief that his daughter has endless possibilities, unlimited by sexism.
Three blonde white ladies are forty minutes from landing in ORD. Two are asleep. Two are put together. One falls
apart putting words on a page as her plane falls to the earth putting wheels onto the runway.