August 31, 2016
In two day’s time I will leaving on a journey that I have wanted to make for the last three years. On my own, I’ll be driving to Indiana to spend time with one of my writer friends.
It’s not as far a drive as you might think, since the woman I’ll be visiting lives in the northern half of Indiana. I’ve never driven there before, but I have a Garmin, and I sort of know how to use it. And yes, I’m anal enough that I’ve printed off driving directions from the Internet, just in case.
I’ve always enjoyed driving. That was a good thing because I used to drive about 120 miles every day, ferrying my husband to and from work, as he doesn’t have a driver’s licence. This was something I did for a good couple of decades. In the beginning, it was actually half of that, as I was going to work as well, so it was one trip to and one trip home per day. But in the last several years that I chauffeured him after I no longer worked outside the home, the daily task consisted of two round-trips, which would have been two days worth of driving previously.
Fortunately, my daughter took over playing chauffeur to her dad a few years ago, because it wasn’t only distance that was a factor. Two round-trips to the rural community where my husband works took nearly three hours out of my day. More, actually, because I would have to go back to bed after the very early morning run. I’d be getting out of bed again around ten, and then having to leave to get him at around three-thirty. That severely cut into my writing time. When my husband and daughter both expressed the opinion that I should be putting more books out there, I challenged them to take something off my already very full plate. I’m very grateful they came up with the solution they did.
In return for the chauffeur service, we pay for all of our daughter’s gas, almost all of her vehicle repairs, and her daddy takes her on a vacation each year.
I haven’t undertaken a solo trip away from home since I flew to Texas in 2013. I don’t have the travel bug the way my husband does, and the lack of going places hasn’t bothered me except that I really want to spend time with my friends who live in the U.S.
My husband and daughter will be going someplace tropical in November, during which I will be home alone (or as alone as one can be living with a neurotic dog and an unpredictable cat). Father and daughter enjoy traveling together, and I really am happy to stay here and write.
I’m excited about this trip. I’m really looking forward to a couple of days of brain-storming story ideas, and simply catching up. Those who spend their days creating worlds and stories know how energizing it is to spend time with someone of like mind. Creative minds coming together is a truly beautiful thing to experience. It is, to me, the greatest natural high.
I’d begun to wonder if this trip would ever happen. Originally, I thought I’d have that gallbladder surgery, and then be good to go. But it didn’t happen according to the time table I wanted. It was delayed a couple of years while the doctors made certain that all of the symptoms I was having had to do with that particular organ, and were not something else.
Finally, as you know, the surgery took place last September. I’d always planned for either an early spring or an early fall trip, because my friend is very busy, with a schedule filled with professional commitments and deadlines. Now I’m actually counting down to the day of departure.
I won’t be packing a whole lot because I’ll only be gone a few days. I’ve never been a fussy dresser, and I don’t tend to wear make-up unless it’s an extremely special occasion. I think I was too lazy to ever develop that habit, and now at 62, I’m comfortable letting everyone see my naked face. I was once asked by a female manager, at the company where I worked for more than a decade, why I didn’t wear makeup? She said she believed I could almost be pretty if I did. I immediately replied that I was so beautiful in my natural state that were I to wear makeup, the rest of the women who were my co-workers would feel woefully inadequate by comparison—so out of kindness to them, I abstained.
Yes, I’ve always been a smart ass and rarely at a loss for words when being insulted.
Fortunately for me, this visit will be spent with true friends, in a private setting. My writing friend doesn’t judge a person based on outside appearance, and neither do I. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.
We’re writers. We’re far more concerned about what lies beneath the surface than with whatever may superficially cover it up.