My last blog “Aging Ungracefully” did not appear on FB. Since that’s where my other 10 loyal readers live, I’m trying again.
I never thought I would long for a night in a campground, even in our fancy fifth wheel, but a night spent in a sleazy freeway motel in Flagstaff changed that. We decided to stay in a motel so that we could get an early start and not have to deal with freezing temperatures. Our choices are limited because we need a place that will provide RV parking and tolerate the little dog. Yesterday we found one motel–let’s call it a Super 7.
It probably wasn’t a great idea to read the Trip Advisor reviews, but I’m a loyal reviewer and reader. In fact, if I write one more review I may move into the top 10% of reviewers…in Redding. But I digress. The reviews were not encouraging; remarks like “you get what you pay for” and “I was afraid of the bedspreads” did not inspire confidence. For my part, I ripped those bedspreads right off the beds as soon as I walked into the room.
The three of us have “go bags”–just the necessities for a night out of the RV. My bag has enough clothes so that I have a choice the next day, toiletries, jewelry, extra shoes– not that much. Fiona’s bag has her blue blanket, food, bowls, a brush, toys, and a change of harness. Mike put underwear, socks and toiletries in my bag when I wasn’t looking. Leaving the high maintenance dog out of the equation, I think the difference between Mike’s and my go bags is telling.
Let’s start with this: Mike found the Super 7 perfectly acceptable. It had a tv, a bed for him and the little dog and another bed for me. And as a bonus, there was a Cracker Barrel next door. Once I’d removed the bedspreads, I was okay with the beds. And frankly, I enjoy the occasional nights when Mike is the sole recipient of Fiona’s quirks. (All I’m saying is never touch her tail while she’s sleeping.) Besides the scarred bathtub and interesting carpet, not to mention the scarily skinny guy at the front desk, I considered the presence of the Cracker Barrel to be a minus. However, we are mature and experienced married people.
Mike happily took himself off to CB for a comfort food dinner, which I’m sure involved mashed potatoes. Meanwhile I ate artisan cheeses from the Santa Fe farmers market with apple slices, crackers, and an unpretentious and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. 😏 The best part is that Mike felt sorry for me.
Today we left our altitude headaches behind in Flagstaff and drove through the good, the bad, and the ugly of Arizona. I was hoping to see some desert bloom; mostly I saw a parched landscape and occasional bursts of cactus flower color. And of course there was the wind, the wind that has plagued us since Michigan. We started calling Barstow RV parks but all were full. Of course that raises the question, why the hell are all these people camping in Barstow? Around that time, the ever present wind picked up, 29 mph of head wind. We were tired and talked ourselves into another night in a hotel.
We drove by our motel, where we had been assured there was ample RV parking in the large lot. And we kept on driving. Maybe it was the 6 spaces at the front and no visible parking on the sides. Maybe it was the post bombing look of the concrete building or the tiny, dirty door to the lobby. For me it was that this motel looked worse than the Super 7 from last night.
We drove on and Mike pulled into a large empty lot that happened to be in front of a nice hotel. I didn’t think we had a chance but they let us park and bring our dog and go bags into the clean and pleasant room I am currently writing in. Yes we lost the fee for the other place. I made a half-hearted attempt to reach the service who had booked us into a hellhole. When I finally worked my way through the labyrinthine automated choices to an actual person, the call started cutting out. Suspicious since I wasn’t moving at the time. But I’m not complaining: I’m warm, I can’t hear the wind, and there’s not a Cracker Barrel in sight.
“Click here to change preferences or unsubscribe from emails”
I’ve been thinking about what it would mean if I could unsubscribe from my life, if we all could. A minor irritation–me getting tired of so many commercial emails–inspired an orgy of unsubscribing. CVS, Lucky Vitamin, Afloral, Overstock–gone. Classmates? Getouttahere! Bye bye Karen Kane, Lululemon, Fresh Produce, and all Facebook notifications (surprise me when I get there). Amazon? Let’s not get crazy. Amazon and I have a deep relationship that includes prime, audible, and me as a reviewer they’ve never published. I don’t know what it is but I always get rejected for inappropriate material. I swear that I don’t–swear in my reviews, that is. I think this repression of my First Amendment rights drove me to become a Trip Advisor reviewer. Imagine how thrilled, I (an aspiring writer) was to discover I’m in the top 10% of reviewers! In my town. I didn’t read the fine print until I had received a couple of congratulatory emails. I’m getting ready to unsubscribe from Trip Advisor/Big Brother because they bug me for reviews any time I search restaurants or hotels online…. Also I don’t like the way they show me a map of the earth with pins where I’ve written a review: I don’t seem to have gone many places.
Back to this notion of unsubscribing. I realized that we subscribe throughout our lives to different versions of ourselves. Always, when I read Stephen King ( a master of evoking eras), I am slammed back into vivid memories from my childhood or adolescence and then there I am, the person I was. So here’s my question. Can I unsubscribe from certain versions of myself? Can I reduce contact with my current self to–say–once a month and increase my preferences for some of those other selves? What would it look like if the hope and energy of my early 30’s informed my choices today? I don’t mean I would act like I’m younger; I don’t think I mean that. (Although I would have a hard time resisting the time machine that let me change a few past decisions.) What I think I mean is that layers of memories could be peeled away. Traumatic, sad, disturbing memories, regretted decisions, and uneasy reflections on past actions would be part of me, of course, but they would be controlled by my preferences. Just like I can control how often Classmates sends me blurry pictures of people I can’t remember ever seeing, I could set up mental preferences that would let me decide how often I need to feel the inchoate fear of nothingness (death) that increased with retirement but has made guest appearance throughout my life. I could prefer to weekly memories of the actor/director and set up daily visits from my 5 year old self. Maybe then I could re-learn the Spanish I knew fluently at that age.
Here’s the deal: life or time, if you will, moves at a snail’s pace when you’re waiting to be tall enough to reach the kitchen faucet so you can get your own drink of water. It drags through high school when you’re struggling to figure out your place and whirs through college when you realize that place is fluid and largely irrelevant. It freezes ugly moments, giving them an unshakable solemnity and rushes sweet moments past savoring.
I would subscribe to several selves: one would be the person who, at various times in my life, has connected profoundly with nature and the indisputable God. (I would like to hear from her every day.) I would keep the confident teacher close by and unsubscribe completely from Bleak Christmas Erin and Prozac Barbie. Actually that last one is a joke, sort of, but the depression I’ve periodically experienced could happily go to the unsubscribed nether world, never to return. I would love to access The Writer more often but I’m pretty sure that’s an issue of discipline. Maybe what I really want is a strong subscription to creativity. That sounds good–I’ll do that. The irony of the fact that I haven’t posted a blog in quite awhile does not escape me…
I wish I could say I’ve been working on my novel but it’s more like I’ve been rereading and over-writing the 90 pages I’ve already written. I would actually have to access my liar self (junior high) to say I’m making progress and no one wants to see her again.
Today I’m subscribing to the just-publish-it when-you-write-it self. She’s new.
Inspired by a former student who writes brief and pithy blogs, I’ve decided to write some short pieces. Of course this could be a response to my last (epic) blog. Anyway, this is like the haiku of writing–say it all in a few words. So here goes.
Can we PLEASE come up with a better word than blog? I don’t love it as a noun but I loathe it as a verb (I blogged last night. Sounds like a painful yoga move. Downward blog?) Anyway, I’m open to suggestions. Essay and article are out and reflection is pretentious.
Speaking of haiku, here is my favorite.
Follow the yellow brick road,
Follow the yellow brick road,
June 16, 2013returned about 10:00 from a lovely and delicious Italian dinner–finally a glass of wine (Barbera) that didn’t taste like it was watered down. Last night we woke around 4:30 and weren’t able to get back to sleep until after 6:00. Naturally we overslept until almost 10:30 and so got a late start. Once we got going we probably walked about 3-4 miles, most of it uphill to High Street to do some shopping. We also spent some time in the park and at the National Museum of Scotland and just enjoying the city’s history and antiquity. Tomorrow we are taking an early bus to St. Andrews; hopefully we’ll see some nice scenery on the way. We looked into a Highlands tour but it was really too far. Going to bed early because of that 5:30 wake up call. Because we’re fairly far North, it stays light until late (it’s just starting to feel like dusk now at 10:30 PM) so it’s easy to lose track of time.
I really like Edinburgh and would love to come again in August during the Fringe Festival. Apparently hundreds of venues feature art, music and theatrical entertainment. This city of 500,000 grows to 1.5 million and the party goes on day and night.
This will be a short entry as I no longer have the jet-lag based energy surges that made me write so often. Right now I’m dealing with two conundrums–a camera that won’t charge and hair that has re-learned how to frizz. I don’t understand it; my hair hasn’t done this in 30 years. Yes, it’s humid here but no one else seems to have this problem….
Well, I’ve nodded off twice while writing this, hopefully more because I’m tired than because this is a boring addition to the blog. I’ll try to upload a picture; maybe that will help.