Day Of

There’s excitiement, waiting for the day of travel. Richard (my traveling companion for this trip) and I just had southwestern style egg burritos. His cat Jay is now wandering around the dining room table looking for scraps. In less than an hour we head to the airport and prepare to take off for Amsterdam.

This is a new country for me – Netherlands. It’s one of those places that, in my youth, I had always joked about going to. Prevalent drug use, partying, the looser moral systems. I suppose I thought that as I got older I may not go. Now, in going, I’m actually excited to visit the canals, see the open air markets and take a walking tour.

It may not be quite what I had anticipated in my youth, but I look forward to the journey of discovery that is Amsterdam.

Siri Bums

I think about Kerouac and Siri, that AI phone thingy, I wonder what words, pedantic or brusque, might come from such a pairing.

“I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up” he may start.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that” she’d reply.

“This man who walked from coast to coast, doing a pancake tour of America?”

“Are you looking for the International House of Pancakes? There’s one nearby.”

He’d pause. “Yes” he’d say. “That sounds nice.”

“But you’re not listening.”

“I’m sorry, Jack. What can I help you with?”

“Dean Cassidy” Jack would say.

“There’s no one by that name in your Contacts. Do you mean…?

“No, No!” Would be his answer, frustrated now. He’d start again.

“I first met Dean…”

Going Places

I’m laying in bed reading, and I felt like writing some. Doctor Strange is playing on the television, background noise at this point, as I’ve probably watched it half a dozen times since it arrived courtesy of the Disney Movie Club two weeks ago. My mutt, One, can’t decide if he wants to lay on the bed with me or be let out. He’ll jump down, run around the room, and then half hop up, waiting for me to lift his back half. He’s half-boxer, half-pit bull, as lazy as he is spoiled, and I’ll miss him when I leave on Friday.

The time has come for travelling back to Europe, a 24-day trek through six countries and nine cities. 

I’m thinking of course of the London attacks today, and wishing for a safer world. I’m thinking of last year’s trip to Ireland and Scotland, and wonder why I didn’t explore more of the world before. I’m thinking of the stack of unread books I’m leaving in wait for me, and of the beat-up copy of On the Road I’ll be taking with me. And I’m thinking of what I’ll do when I get back.

One is curled up beside me, as I reread Susan Orlean’s intro to The Best American Travel Writing 2007. This passage stood out: “I’d also figured out something about the nature of travel. For the first time, it seemed clear to me that travel is not about finding something: it’s about getting lost – that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment.”

Well, here’s to getting lost!

Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

I’ve had a kind of bad week at the office. To wit, I don’t actually have an office. I used to, working a quasi 9-5 office job in Orlando. It was a job in my field (arts administration) and the work was governmental, so it was decent pay and fairly good benefits. It was also wholly unsatisfying. When my life upended, I decided it was time to leave that job as well.

I quit. I left without a safety net, without a plan, and without any job prospects. Somehow, I’ve been fortunate enough in life to have things work out for me. Sometimes it serendipitous, sometime downright miraculous. Julia Cameron calls it synchronicity

That’s not to say I haven’t been down and out before. Last year was a big down and out year, and I wasn’t sure that I’d ever get up. Even with that said, within four weeks of leaving my job, I found work. More accurately, my mother knew a guy who just lost a worker, so I was able to step in. Voila! Instant employment.

Turns out, I was pretty good at the work too. Mostly it’s smooth sailing, with very little mental exertion needed on my part. While working there, I’ve been paying bills, taking the occasional travel adventure, teaching, writing, and reorienting myself to what I should be doing. Getting my head right, and my soul in balance, after its misadventures in 2016. Just last week I was starting to look to PhD programs and seeing what other work opportunities might be available to me after I return from Europe. 

Which sets up the drama of this week. On Friday, filling in for someone who needed the night off, I had a customer lose her temper with me, walking out and threatening to have me fired. This didn’t bother me so much, as I know she was just blowing off steam, and she has a history of frustrated rants, especially when she comes in forgetting to take her medication. She suffers from a mental instability of some kind, so we all try to remain very patient with her.

Saturday was a busy day, but I think it was uneventful as my week’s negative aspects played out. Sunday, on the other hand, busy and downright awful. I have a coworker who for some reason has this chip on her shoulder towards me. She has a general chip on her shoulder, but it’s even more pronounced when directed in my vicinity. Sometimes she is in charge, but on Sunday she and I were both working the floor. There was this heated exchange, and I had to walk away. Out of the back door and around the building. 

Now it takes a great deal to aggravate me, and even more so to make me angry. But at one point I noticed my hands shaking, and I knew that there was nothing good that would come of me engaging anymore with her. Now, the owner has said nothing to me concerning the incident, but the other party has been off since then, and it’s possible he would want to talk with her first.

Then, again, a minor incident on Monday and one yesterday, all leading me to the inevitable query: Is it synchronicity’s way of telling me it’s time to leave? 

I haven’t come to a conclusion yet, nor do I think that I’ll reach one prior to leaving on the 24th. I do think that it’s quite interesting that, after eight months of relative quiet, all of a sudden this week it seems to be one thing after another. So I wonder… Is it the Universe giving me not-so-subtle hints that, “Hey. It’s time.” 

The last time I ignored the Universe I had a mountain dropped on my head. Figuratively. I do not need that again.