Happy Thanksgiving, to those who celebrate. As both a non-cooker and non-eater this year, I do feel on the outside looking in. What will the airport be like, I wonder, with all of our kind wandering footloose through the terminals, none of us getting anywhere in time for dinner?
Still, there's a certain freedom in not taking part in the holiday. Yesterday, as everyone else in the grocery store was madly buying ingredients, I was dreamily puttering among toothbrushes and Dramamine, cat litter and laundry soap. I have made no pies, sweetened no cranberries, mashed no potatoes. For dinner I will eat something unsavory out of an airport carton.
But of course the end result of all of this non-celebrating will be celebrating: our long weekend with James, putzing around Chicago with red noses and winter boots, actually having a vacation with Tom.
This morning I will pack, and also deal with various household things like getting the trash out for tomorrow's pickup and organizing the cat's stuff for his across-the-street babysitter. The timing of this trip makes it feel stately and unrushed. After lunch my neighbor will drive us to the bus station, 10 minutes away, and then we will float in the seas of public transportation . . . a coach ride to Boston, then a flight to Chicago, and then the bright face of our son waiting to fetch us back to his apartment. I am so un-nervous about this trip that I'm starting to think something's wrong with me.
The biggest struggle of the day, as always, will be deciding what books to bring. Do I bring the Fowles novel that I'm halfway through? Do I bring that collection of Cheever stories? Short stories are often nice on a trip, as they work well with my fractured attention--I'm always distracted by the curious behaviors of the people around me. Do I bring Dante to copy out in my spare moments? Or do I assume that my spare moments would be better served by actually behaving as if I'm on vacation and not mucking around with an epic? Still, I once passed a great deal of time at LaGuardia copying out Paradise Lost. So I know it can be done.
You can see the problems I face . . . not least the ridicule of my family. They are all breathlessly waiting to laugh when they see what I unpack. I should foil them and simply produce one paperback copy of Fifty Shades of Gray, or perhaps How to Win Friends and Influence People. But then I'd have nothing else to read, and that would be a drag.