What fun would it be if I came up with a plan for how to post to this blog and pulled it off without a hiccup? No fun at all, I tell you. No fun at all. Things took an unexpected turn on Friday and lasted until Tuesday, so I’m just settling into a routine now. At 5:49 p.m. on Wednesday. So, what happened? Well, let me catch you up…
Stranger Than Fiction Fridays
Friday was supposed to be busy… kicking off with NaNo, a doctor’s appointment at 11, off to the airport around 2. In between I had to pack, take care of the dogs, get things ready for our awesome dog sitter, S, blah blah blah. I woke up feeling panicked. Not anxious – which is normal on a crazy busy day that also involves heading over to another time zone for a weekend. Panicked. Full on panic. Without going into too much boring detail, I’ve struggled with panic and anxiety throughout my life but for many, many years I’ve had it under control. Sure, there are times when things are just too much to deal with and I get freaked out, but for the most part, it’s settled. Friday, out of nowhere I was gripped with complete terror. Sometimes it helps for me to just be in control of a situation to alleviate it. This works really well in my marriage, since Kris loves how obsessively I plan things. But he was at work. And there was nothing to plan. My doctor asked if I was having a heart attack (awesome impression to make at my first visit to establish a PCP). My blood pressure was fine but my heart rate was elevated and I was clearly agitated. “Just panicky.”
“Hmmmm. Well, okay.”
After the half hour wait to get in to see her, the half hour appointment, the trip to the drugstore that took forever I was even more panicked because I wasn’t packed. And so I got it in my head, because why not throw a wrench in the machinery, that the thing that was making me anxious was flying. I fly fairly regularly and while it’s not my favorite thing, it generally doesn’t cause panic. It may or may not have on Friday but I convinced myself it did. And I remembered that because of our reservations, I wouldn’t lose a dime if I didn’t fly. I could just get a credit to use later. First bad move? Deciding it was flying that made me nervous. Second? Realizing I didn’t have to fly.
But how could I miss my trip to Chicago? We had a wedding I was looking forward to and it was a weekend away. Kris and I have limited time together with him at the office, going to the gym, watching football, generally exhausted at the end of the day so weekends are pretty sacred. Did I want to give that up? Not really. And I certainly didn’t want to give up a weekend with him.
And so, around 2 pm, when I should have been running out the door to the airport, or at least more ready to do so than I was, I decided I was going to drive to Chicago. It’s a 13 hour drive. And it gets dark at like 4 here. And you take one road from like 45 minutes from here all the way to Chicago, so it’s fucking boring. And yet, I decided that this was the best idea ever. The name of this story, if it were a story, would be: I Became My Mother On Friday. My mother is incredibly anxious about traveling and regularly bails on plans with us because of it. And I give her so much grief. Needless to say, I called her to give HER grief that I had caught her condition. And so I got in the car and started driving to Chicago. Regret #1 came ten minutes in when I realized that I had left my ipod, with the podcasts and books I had dowloaded, plugged into the wall. I couldn’t lose even more time turning around, and the dogs would flip. So I drove with six CDs. Mix CDs. And not well thought out ones. I drove past Cleveland and stopped for the night and then the next morning finished. Got to Chicago the next morning after a terrible night’s sleep.
Regret #2 came when I realized on Saturday that I was going to have to turn around on Sunday and do the same thing. The abbreviated version is that I decided it would be a really good idea to stop by the old house and pick up the mail that the buyers have yet to send me. They didn’t get my email in time to leave it for me. So I added THREE HOURS onto my trip. I made a quick stop to buy some CDs and then got back on the road. It was nearly 2 pm after stopping to get gas, clean my windshield, fill up fluids…
Regret #3 came when I got back on 94. I made a conscious decision to buy some CDs that would be fun and have nothing, or very little, in our iTunes library (which is so impressive I can’t even begin to tell you). So I got a two disc 80’s compilation and 4 disc 90’s compilation. I got on 94, and I turned on the first disc (80’s; disc 1). The familiar riff started and I started in, “Jenny Jenny, who can I turn to?” And I was like, “Hm… this doesn’t sound like the original.” No. The instrumentation seemed identical but the voice… something was off. Something was different. It sounded like what we would say was a decent wedding band. A decent wedding band is awesome at a wedding. Do you know when it’s less awesome? When you’ve been in the car three days in a row. And aren’t at a wedding. So you’re not dancing. And, more importantly, you’re not drinking. At my next stop I looked and despite all the original artists being listed I noticed the fine print. The CD was some 80’s hits. But they brought the artists back and had them record now.
And yes, it’s as bad as you imagine. Debbie, Tiffany, and all the rest. Including a version of a Stray Cats song that was so fast it made me panicky. And did I really need that?
Regret #4 hit me at a rest stop somewhere late Sunday night. I felt like I had been on 80 for too long but what did I know, we usually take 80 when we drive East for this long to go to my mom’s. But something didn’t feel right. I looked at a map and just assumed the mp didn’t go far enough east to show where it split between 80/90 for too long. I never looked north, where I would have seen 90. I never looked really far back west where I would have seen I very obviously missed the split. And was headed to NYC. I picked up some Chex Mix from the little travel mart and asked the cashier how long until 90 and he said, “Uh, that was like two hours ago.” Apparently no matter how hard I wish I can’t change the past. He told me to take the exit for 5, then 82 east and then 11 north. Sure. I did this.
82 ended. At a bar on one side of the road and a sketchy looking trailer on the other. I never crossed 11. Neh-ver. I decided not to stop in the bar to ask. I turned around and figured I’d find a northbound route. I have a very good sense of direction even if my ability to pay attention is clearly nonexistant. Blame it on the boredom. I hit 7 which ran north. I made a right and drove. It was very dark. It was winding. And did I mention it was dark? No cars, no houses. And then there they were. Regret #6: The Kamikaze deer. Two of them. I slammed on my brakes like the ace driver I am (sarcasm), skidded off the road into not quite a ditch but more than a depression, screamed and cursed and then expressed gratitude that my airbag had not deployed, got back on the road going north and decided that I was stopping. As much as I wanted to be back in Vermont in my own bed at 2 a.m. there was just no way. No. Way. So I got on 90 and played the game of, “Eh, it’s only ten miles until the next exit,” until I got sick of myself somewhere outside of Buffalo and crawled into a hotel bed for the night.
I was exhausted when I got home at 11 on Monday. I took a nap AND crawled into my bed to read at 8:30. And needless to say my energies have been focused on working. And not blogging. Or NaNo.
I wish this were the premise for a funny little short story. Or a spooky story about deer who hate humans. But alas, this is just a glimpse into my life.
We’ll call this “nonfiction Friday”. By the end of the week I’ll catch you up on lessons from the freelance life and what I’ve been drinking. Or I won’t. I’m not making any more promises.