Feb 18 2016
I’m sitting at the T4 gate in Atlanta with some time to kill before my 12:45 flight. I wasn’t really going to write but I can’t resist. Within easy ease-dropping distance is a young guy with a duffle bag beside him. He’s busy talking on the phone with a friend, having the kind of conversation that I would only have with someone if I had a bit more privacy. He keeps going, “This is so weird.” It seems that he has just come off six or so weeks of hiking; I’m assuming that he was on the Appalachian Trail and with a group of some kind. He needs some time alone, he tells his friend, even though he has been hiking in the wilderness for so long. He will give his mom “a little time” but then needs to recede to solitude. He longs for “cutlery” and cooking real food. It is “so weird,” he says, “having to think about clock time.” He is twenty, just like Hannah last summer.
I chuckle thinking that this guy is looking around at all of us, part of the rat race, people who don’t understand the journey he’s been on. He has no idea that the woman across from him, easily older than his mother, has been on a similar adventure not too long ago. And I have no idea of the stories of those around me either, except for the woman behind me who is angry about how not everyone who is “family” will be meeting with the priest before the wedding. What novels their lives could write.
Today I start another adventure. I’m off for ten days right now visiting with my mom in New York, and then Richard will join me for our long-postponed trip to Sicily and then a visit to Anne in Fez, Morocco. We leave JFK on Feb. 28 and return to NY on March 23 and Athens March 25, a good long trip. My time in NY will be my decompression from all the planing for this trip. I’ve been the Italy part of the couple, creating our itinerary, finding cheap plane tickets, reserving frugal but well recommended hotels and AirBnBs, reading a history of Sicily. Richard has been the Morocco part with fewer logistics (we’ll be staying with Anne) but full of reading and researching places we need to see, history we need to understand.
I guess this is really the first entry for what will be the trip Sicily-Morocco part of the blog, with less reflecting on life after retirement or other more metaphysical or political or bike-related topics, though there may be time for some of that in New York. I will note, though, that I had a quite obvious realization the other day about my post-retirement adjustment and search for routine. If I do some rough addition, my days on the road since retirement will add up to a little over five months by the time time this trip is over. Planning, packing, and trip recovery easily took up another 6-8 weeks. No wonder routine alludes me.