Posts Tagged ‘alone’

Homeward Bound

11 March 2011


Dear J-

I get to the check-in kiosk and there’s a new option: change your flight? The moment I impulsively click yes to see what’s available I realize just to what extent TV and the Amazing Race has ruined my life. Rather than stick to the original plan and cool my heels in Providence for a few hours I’m on a flight and smugly congratulating myself that it was fifty-five dollars well spent, getting out a little early and adding a stop but getting home a couple of hours early.

The original ticket called for me to travel through Baltimore to San Diego, one stop but not touching down until seven PM. Standby adds a stop in Phoenix. When I touch down in Baltimore they’re already taking a through count and I’m bumped off the plane. The agents scramble on my behalf while having to deal with an unceasing stream of lame questions, finally getting me back through Nashville instead and I sink back into my chair with as little grace as possible, relief overwhelming what adrenaline has propped up for the past hour. They take my bad at the door but at this point I’m just happy to be pointed in the right direction and I can finally remember the little squeal of glee I let out this morning realizing that I’d be home tonight.

Because that’s part of the fun in traveling. It’s great to find new places and walk down unfamiliar streets but knowing at the end of it all you get to put your head down in the usual places and kiss the right faces makes the return that much sweeter. When I finally got back to the hotel room in Providence the first thing I went looking for was a CVS, not because I needed the Coca-Cola and Doritos but because out was familiar. How many nights had I ridden the last bus of the night home to Jamaica Plain and stopped a little short just so I could make a meal of it, sorrow of solitude drowned with junk food? I did out again last night to remind me just how lucky I am, coming home to the chaos I’ve grown to miss.



Good Night

23 October 2010

Dear J-

There’s an eerie sense of completion — not only did I finally finish Inkheart this morning, I’ve ripped off a couple more books in the queue (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (John Boyne), which was a little too precious to be believable, and Loser (Jerry Spinelli), whose protagonist is compelling yet unbelievably hopless — you want to know what happens in those next six years) as well. And with theVet off work I had a couple of hours to myself this morning, which I used to knock out the remainder of the actual problem-solving I had left for test preparation. I suppose that I should find some way to practice concentrating for eight hours at a stretch, but it can’t be any more chaotic than work already is.

So. Loose ends tonight. There are a lot of things I could or perhaps should do instead, from cleaning up the room to making notes to be bound for quick reference; what have you been learning about lately, after all? On the other hand it’s nice to remember what it’s actually like to have time again, to kick up my feet for a night and not worry about anything, no due dates, no deadlines, no looming piles of work, another weekend day to be enjoyed tomorrow. And that’s all right. Life is rich. Life is good.


Timeshare Opportunity

21 August 2010

Dear J-

theVet is out of town this weekend and so my first day with figgy has been mostly successful — occasionally frustating, when the burden of communication has become insurmountable, or when neither of us choses to listen (we yell at each other quite ineffectively, as volume never manages to make the arguments any more convincing; you’d think I’d have learned that lesson after thirty-five years).  There have been great highs and lows today.  It is the roller coaster of childhood.

At one point I was convinced that she had broken the fan we use to move air around the house on hot nights and days like today:  figgy was slowly feeding the string of a balloon into the guard, which I stopped as soon as I saw it — but then, as I was kicking the balloon out of the way, the suction from the fan ingested the string anyway and popped it.  Seriously, it’s not like she wanted to did it with malicious intent — it’s one of those things that you do as a kid (for me it was pouring milk into the garbage to see what a stink it would make after a few days) but I read motive into it anyway and reacted accordingly.

It’s tempting for me, in light of the novel I just read (The Final Reflection, John M. Ford) to think in terms of passion and reason, logic and emotion:  Star Trek words for essential, inseparable parts of our whole selves.  But it’s equally misleading to think that we should let one side run loose all the time, neither dispassionate nor frothing shall we be.  If you say that today was full of opportunities, so will tomorrow be, and a chance to better the score, too.


Mountain Man

12 August 2010

Dear J-

I had the opportunity to head out for dinner with the rest of the guys again, but I eschewed it in favor of a lonely drive up into the mountains.  Those of you who already had the opinion that I’m antisocial will nod your heads knowingly, but it’s not just wanting to be alone:  I spend time with these folks willingly, and ungrudgingly — I’d just planned that route out in my head last night and couldn’t wait to try it out (final verdict was that it was worth doing once:  north on Golden Springs Road, east on Choccolocco, continue north on Alabama 9 through the Talladega National Forest, then loop back using smaller roads — in my case I tried going down Hollingsworth, which was worth it, especially going west on Whites Gap Road).

So I end up at the mall for dinner which is a mistake:  it reminds me too much of the lost summer (2004) spent mostly alone in my room/cell in Ann Arbor, where the only entertainment to be had was cooking the same pasta night after night and walking over to the mall, alone alone alone.  And so it seems that passing up the chance at a night amongst friends has the double effect of compounding the loneliness, right?

There’s nothing quite like eating alone in a mall, I says.  The one thing I’m dead tired of is eating out alone; if you’re at the same hotel with people you know if nothing else then you should hang out a little bit.  It’s nice to have time to yourself, but the room echoes a bit too empty when it’s just your thoughts and voice breaking the silence.