Upon returning late last night to the Bronx after my flight from Chicago, I didn't have more than ten minutes of consciousness left in me before my brain switched off. Our foster nurse of nature is repose, Shakespeare's Gentleman said to Cordelia, and repose I did, every aching suitcase-racked muscle of me. It has taken half of today to realize that it's Wednesday; now that I know that, things seem to be falling into place, but it's almost bedtime. Still, torturous suitcase has been unpacked, and mail collected. And – O frabjous day! Callooh Callay! My box of tea came while I was away! I should be able to stay awake till the next millenium.
There is always a lot to do when I get home. Some of my friends travel very efficiently. They check items off their task lists wherever they are. They use their time well, and put in the necessary hours on their computers, and when they walk back through their front doors, the only thing they have to catch up on is laundry.
They amaze me. If I wore a cap, I'd doff it.
Regardless of my intentions, I drift when I travel. I observe, and dream, and write a bit, sniff and taste and consider. I adhere to the schedule I have to adhere to – when in a town to do a concert, for example, I show up at the theater when I am supposed to – but beyond that, though I may be productive, I may just as easily take a walk. If only my computer were lighter, if only I were more focused, if only, if only, if. But then… I would not have been able accept a last-minute invitation to sit in on a friend's theater class. I would not have found the best coffee and tea shop in Chicago. I might not know the name of the day manager of the hotel, and where that name originated. It is as much the memory of these moments as it is my cosmetics bag and the boots that I am unpacking and stowing away for later use.
For me, travel pries gravity's fingers loose – both kinds of gravity. My problems look smaller from the altitude of a plane's path, sorrow is eased by the rocking of a train, and there is precious little I can't conquer from the height of a horse's back. But getting ready to leave… well, a certain amount of whinging does happen in this apartment, usually about the demeaning and debilitating ordeal that air travel has become. Once I am in motion, though, I have a shine on my sailin' shoes, a melody in my heart, and a smile for my umbrella.