SYNOPSIS:  It’s about the boring part.  Getting from here to there.  

There was the typical mix of muffled noises: the baby crying somewhere in the distance, the laughter of a woman with that uncomfortably shrill voice, the low humdrum of conversation. 

There was the typical set of uncomfortable circumstances:  the swollen ankles, the stiff neck, the frequent whiff of perfume. 

There was the gentle sway of the Boeing that lulled me into a slumber and made me too tired to read — I tried, but before the end of any paragraph I realized that my eyes were closed — but then it all kept me too aware to sleep.

They say the journey is the goal as much as the destination.  And in principle, I agree.  But as I am getting older, I am increasingly annoyed by that part of the journey that transports me to my destination.  36 hours in transit from Detroit to Jakarta …  And that was one of the shorter flight sequences I could find (and afford).  I wish I could snap my fingers and be there.

What did I forget?  That was the nagging question when David and I left the house at 3 AM on our way to the airport.  I had packed so carefully over the last few days; I could not possibly have forgotten anything.  But I did: my travel clock.  As minor as that sounds, I was mightily mad at myself when I discovered this. 

That clock has been with me for years, and halfway around the world.  It is perfect: small, with an alarm, a date, a temperature and a night display.  It is always the first thing I unpack at a new destination and the last thing I put away when I leave.  It marks my presence and it grounds me in the reality of the passing days.  I even looked at it this morning!  But I forgot to pack it. 

A four-hour layover in Boston, I hoped, would fix that problem.  When you travel without a phone — just imagine this: I will be without a phone for two months! — there is no substitute device for keeping time.   A hike up and down terminal C did not yield a single travel clock.  The only thing left for me was to buy a wrist watch.  And I hate wrist watches.  I have not worn one in over 30 years.  I have to say, there was a colorful choice of wrist bands and monstrous digital clocks with all kinds of gadgets; wrist watches have come a long way.  But I am not going to walk around with a big clunky thing like that.  And so I got the “classic”, the most basic black face with a black band, but I had to pay an airport designer price for it.  Oh well.  Thank goodness for credit cards …

I hope the rest of the journey will be uneventful.    And if it isn’t the one baby crying, then it is for sure another … 

There won’t be any sleep; I can tell.