This past Saturday, with my hiking bag popping out onto the luggage pickup carousel at LAX, I had arrived in California. Texting my friend for pickup, I had waited on the side street like a tired, desperate hustler or hooker. Despite pulling more hours on the road this year in a day, I had still felt like a caged animal sitting in economy class, Row 29, Seat B on Delta flight 1061. Standing in the cool crisp 50 F degree air was a welcome break before hopping into my friend’s car heading to Anaheim. Punching the destination into his navigation system, we had embarked onto a 30 minute ride across LA’s darkened highways.
With lights from descending airplanes piercing the night time sky, we had started talking about upcoming travel plans. My friend had rattled off quite a few states for the upcoming year including; Washington and South Carolina. Myself, I had spoken only to the trip before me in California. In casual talk of work and living in LA, we had soon drifted to health. The conversation had gone into detail about my friend’s confrontation with testicular cancer. After verifying a self-diagnosis, he had one of his testicles removed around 5 years ago. For a man still in his late 30s, I was shocked a bit. Normally, I had imagined men in their golden years for such a diagnosis. Then again, I was not a medical professional.
Arriving in Anaheim, we had started joking around with sexual and other politically incorrect humor. I hadn’t hung out with my friend in years but, in 30 minutes, we didn’t miss a beat. With the ride over, I had gathered my belongings heading toward check-in at the Disneyland hotel. On Delta flight 1061, I had wandered down to the onboard restroom. There I had seen an icon for tampon dispenser. With all the challenges of this work week, I had whined about the crazy work hours, jet lag, and indigestion. In the context of ride to Anaheim, I had reflected on the fortune of having two testicles versus my buddy. Regardless of the disappointment of seeing more of local topography, I had thought important to insert my mental tampon for the remainder of the visit. If this trip was about that 30 minute moment with my friend, then time well spent.