I first learned about lift at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, on a date with a man who, being a biologist, knew as much about lift as I did. I later married that biologist, so naturally I associate lift with good things.
As this non-physicist understands it, lift is a feat of physics requiring a curved shape of wing and speed. The air pressure over the wing becomes less than the air pressure under the wing, and this lifts the wing up. I find it to be an amazing concept, and even more amazing to experience it. Of course, it does require forward motion at a fairly terrifying speed.
I experienced lift because I went on a business trip. It was a surgical strike on Chicago – in one day and out the next – for a 3 hour meeting. This was the first time in three years I had traveled by air. I didn’t think it was possible, but airline travel is even more annoying than it was three years ago. Going through security is a demeaning process involving removing crucial items of clothing – coats, shoes, and – a particularly embarrassing requirement especially for men – belts. In this state of humiliation, you must put these items in a bin. And do it quickly, because the person behind you is wondering why you are so hopelessly slow.
After this partial disrobing, I was pulled aside for a full body scan. Perhaps I look like a ter*ror*ist. My husband said later that maybe it looked like I had a suicide jacket on under my coat. I told him that I wasn’t wearing a coat - I had already put my coat in the Bin of Humiliation. Perhaps they mistook my rolls of fat for a weapon. “Put your feet on those squares, ma’am.” “Put your hands over your eyes, ma’am, and raise your elbows.” I realized a few seconds later that this was not to shield my eyes, but so the full body scan could get a good look at me all around, if you know what I mean. So I posed for intimate pictures of my body in an extremely public place. I wonder if they store those pictures somewhere. They might be useful in a horror film.
After all that, I was glad to sit down and wait, and then finally get on the plane and experience that lift. It thrills me every time when the wheels leave the ground and we begin to soar above God’s good earth. The trees looked cozy in their red, brown, and burnt sienna hues. There was an uplifting moment when the flight attendants served us what they called “breakfast peanuts.”
I have to say, though, that the best “lift” I got was when I arrived back home and saw my family. Because for the Common Household Mom, one day is a long time to be away from home.