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.

5 comments so far

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  1. Dear friend I think of you so often. THANK YOU for the book you gave me. It helps me under stand what you are doing. I have not kept my letters to you.
    We are going the tough job of selling the house . Not a fun thing to do. still expect to be here when you get back from your trip so I can give you a welcome hug!Ii Love, Ginny

  2. I could have brought your a Rolex from China for five dollars. (Smile) Have a wonderful adventure and I look forward to enjoying it all from here in Ann Arbor.

  3. Yep … it has come to that … travel clocks are obsolete. I hate wrist watches too.

  4. I’ll bet a noise-reduction headset would also be quite useful! 🙂

  5. mein erster gruß ist weg, irgenwas hatte ich vergessen, da kam error. ich staune, dass du die anstrengende reise überstanden hast, nun wird es hoffentlich gemächlicher. Mal sehen, ob ich das jetzt geschickt bekomme.