Friday, June 24, 2011

Traveling Shoes

I have decided to take the rest of the week before the surgery, my tonsillectomy that I talked about in my last post, and head off to San Diego. I often flee the heat of the desert to the comfort of my sister's place in San Diego. I even have my own bedroom, the blue room. I enjoy the drive over the mountain. In fact I just like going for a drive, period. Marlowe likes going for a drive, too. Sometimes I think he thinks he can drive. As soon as I start packing, he knows we are going on a trip. He waits by the front door, waiting for me to open it with the first load then he'll scoot out. I'll always find him in the same place--right beside the car on the passenger's side, in expectation, waiting for me to open the door, the magic door. He loves sitting up front, looking out on the world. Getting ready for the trip is easy for me-- I keep a bag packed so I can head out to San Diego at a moment's notice. I can walk out the door and be on the road within fifteen minutes. Getting Marlowe's things together is a whole different story. I don't have that down yet. I don't have the science of getting Marlowe packed and out the door down to the last detail. But then having Marlowe as a companion is still new and we are still getting used to each other's routines.

We have been going over to my family's various homes for close to 8 months or so by now, but I never seem to have it all together. I always leave something behind. I pack the car up in full confidence that this time, this time for sure, I have everything. But invariably, about three miles out, I remember something I forgot. I don't know why that is, why I can't remember as I am leaving the driveway. Why do I always forget something? And why do I remember as I am driving away? I think the familiarity of having everything all around me, I don't think about all that I need to pack. Or maybe in the anxious rush of getting the waiting Marlowe into the car, I don't take the time to slow down and take the time to make sure that I am ready to go. I am just ready to go because I can't wait to leave, to get in the car and go. Drive, drive away.

We'll sometimes just drive whether we have a destination or not, or make up a destination once we're in the car. Driving is the goal, not the destination. Marlowe is a great traveler and has come to expect getting in the car--whether he is going with me or not. Of course that can lead to some, shall we say, discussions--he can be very stubborn about going back inside the house if he is not coming with me in the car. He will wait right by the passenger door and will not be moved or coaxed--even with chicken treats. This is definitely something that we will be working on during my sabbatical.

For now, he knows that I am packing, he knows that a car ride is in our future. I have tried to keep him in the air-conditioned house as long as I can, but once that front door is opened it is a lost cause, he's out and waiting by the car door, his door, tail wagging. And then my timer starts. I know intellectually that I can take my time to get all that's needed for the trip together and loaded up so I don't miss anything, but the countdown clock has started. I want to get on the road just as much as Marlowe does. I feel this sense of urgency. And with each swish of Marlowe's tail seconds tick off on the countdown clock. Time speeds up, I speed up. And I start to forget things.

But it's not like we are going to the ends of the earth-- we're just going to my sister's-- there is still civilization there-- there are still stores where I can buy anything I forgot--there is still a there there.

The cool of San Diego beckons. Who cares what I will have left behind! I do know what I am leaving behind, I am leaving behind the anxiety of not having a job to wake up to. I am leaving behind the sorrow of having to drive the same streets that I used to drive on my way to work every day. I am escaping-- not only the heat, but the memories of my everyday life. I am escaping. I can't wait to get in the car and drive away. I need to get away. I need to put on my traveling shoes.

[Footnote: While driving over to San Diego, we were stopped by a fire off to our left in the Santa Rosa Mountains. Marlowe wanted to do his part to help put it out, but I wouldn't let him. You can see a helicopter dropping water on the fire in this picture.]

© pranaknits

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