Thursday, August 7
I got up and packed. It was no big deal. I didn’t put myself at odds for not being more diligent and preparing the night before. I just got up, started packing, got ready for work and headed out to Newberg. It was a short, condensed day of finishing up last minute work before leaving and then getting all of my stuff together for the business trip.
I left work for the airport at 3:45 p.m. I have many times before scrambled at the last minute, and it’s not my cup of tea. I hate being rushed to get to the airport. Thus, I made good timing. As I drove along 99W, it has to be mentioned, I passed this wacky, long-haired blonde dude, who looked to be anywhere between 23 and 28 years old, tall-seeming, lanky, with glasses, jamming in his red Ford wagon with a Swedish flag decal on his hatchback window. This was the best part – he was smoking a cigar. It made me laugh. You just don’t see young men smoking stogies in their cars during the day in Oregon, at least I’ve never seen anything like this! It looked ridiculous, like a live oxymoron. He was smoking that cigar with such vim! He had such exuberance. And joy. It was infectious. I was more smiling than laughing. And he caught me smiling from his odd behavior, as he was hunched over his steering wheel, because he was so tall, smoking that cigar like it was his inhaler, jamming and tapping his hands to the dashboard like a Rastafarian. He caught me smiling and turned his head and made a goofy face at me.
I drove along laughing. It’s possible he thought I was making fun of him – which I totally wasn’t. I was into his groove, I was feeling his joy, I was allowing his good energy to flood my way, I was surfing on the sunny wave of his good energy.
I had to write this down in my little notepad so that I would remember to include it in this blog! And just when I struggled to reach into my work bag, I got a razor-blade like cut on my index finger, near my nail, from a wicked sharp piece of paper – a killer paper cut! And it was immediately bloody. I inserted my bloody finger in my mouth, cursing as I was driving along. See, I get way too distracted when I’m driving. It’s a problem.
In the meantime, a great, upbeat song came on the radio, a song that has been coming to me about every time I’ve step into my car and turned on the ignition, for the past few weeks, to which I had decided it must be my theme song. It’s extraordinarily upbeat. Anyway. I’m not really a pop music fan, or a hip hop fan for that matter, but this song has been following me. I mean, it’s really following me! It’s in the grocery store when I’m shopping for tamarind; it’s playing over the speakers at the gas station; it’s in my car every time I switch on the ignition, or when I switch off the CD player. It’s following me and I like it. The song is called Forever, but I had been erroneously referring to it as the “Waited my whole life for this one night…me and you on this dancefloor…” song by Chris Brown.
So, as I dove along, when the song came on as I headed home, before continuing to the airport, I began to dance. I danced from the jubilee of the funny cigar-smoking Swede, I danced from the joy of this upbeat song. I danced with my hands on the wheel but the rest of my body swaying without abandon!
I pulled into a parking spot, ran up to feed my cats, give them plenty of water, watered the plants and grabbed my luggage. I was on my way – Montana bound.
And as I drove toward the PDX airport, I thought more about how wreckless I have become behind the wheel. I should have probably been in a number more accidents. I guess I have fate on my side with the occassional warning sign that blares out like last month. I’m not downplaying the seriousness of my distractions or the ADD-like symptoms that have emerged from my multi-tasking overdoses. This modern life has forced me to multi-task like a banshee. It’s outta control. It keeps me from relaxing and from feeling balanced. It’s the kind of disturbance that makes me require meditation.
In any case, this acute ADD I have when I drive has stemmed from my frustrations in feeling there’s not enough time in a day to accomplish everything I want and need to do. Thus, I file and clean my fingernails, text message and answer emails – whoever came up with the first handheld should really be behind bars! I pull out one of my many mini notepads to voraciously scribble down notes from thoughts and ideas as they come to me, which, is really no good because my handwriting-while-driving requires long transcribing, turning me into a kind of archeologist translator trying to read some new and exceedingly challenging hieroglyphic text. My “driving writing” is a cross between a physician’s and chicken scratch – a mess! And, yet, I am able to successfully read and transcribe these notes that must get written down irregardless of changing traffic patterns, stop lights, parked police cars – no matter what. So, I have decided that I will pull over if I need to write. No matter where I am, where I am going, if I am late or lost. Or, I’ll get myself a recorder. I am not going to be a danger on the road anymore!
Oh, with all this obsessive multi-tasking – Ekhardt Tolle would have a field day with me! It’s the ego. And more, I’m sure. But at least I am willing to be more safe behind the wheel.
I got to the airport with no stress, no rush. I parked in Economy, caught the Red shuttle and had an easy-breezy check in. I grabbed a Starbuck’s iced mocha latte and took at seat at my gate.
On the airplane, I sampled a complimentary glass of Chardonnay from Nampa, Idaho in the newly designated Snake River Valley appellation. It was served way too warm in a plastic cup. So, I could only taste vanilla, oak and, well, plastic.
I had a lay-over in Seattle, before heading out east toward Kalispel. I was starving. I was stuck in an area with two food possibilities, both with gluten-heavy options. Airports need to come up with more alternative food and dining options for those with food allergies and sensitivities. This kills me. Really. I was stuck in the Alaska Airlines shuttle wing/gate, and my best option was the Wolfgang Puck restaurant. The entire menu is one great big mine field for a person with Celiac disease. I think there was actually gluten dripping off of the menu! But, I was starving. And this was it for me. I wouldn’t land until 11:30 p.m., and, by the time I’d get my rental car and get to my hotel, well, it would be way too late to eat. So, I ordered the Chinois chicken salad – knowing full well I was playing dietary roulette.
The margarita was sugar sweet – one of those jobs served in an Ale glass and totally watered down. And there was a floating lime. I am particularly paranoid about any citrus fruit floating in any beverage of mine. I saw a news program covering a story about the disgusting amount of bacteria and other food-born illnesses that thrived on rind – which would unlikely die off in the alcohol. Gross. And, let’s face it, this Margarita was more syrup-mix than high proof tequila, anyway.
I had an engaging conversation on my flight to Kalispel with a young Marine now living in San Diego, who was returning home on leave. When we landed, I hustled to the AVIS car rental booth and then picked up my luggage. It didn’t actually go as smooth and quick as that. I actually waited a long time. I finally pulled out of the airport at 12:30 and drove up toward Whitefish.
I checked into my hotel, The Kandahar, on the mountain and unpacked. I should have just gone straight to bed, but, I needed to unpack. It’s one of my quirks. Okay, maybe a little obsessive compulsive, but, whatever.
Once I unpacked, brushed my teeth and washed my face, I climbed into the high, comfy bed and finally took some deep, relaxing, meditative breaths. All was good.
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