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Travel Time

Richmond Beach, Seattle

Oh Seattle! Here I am again!

Getting up before the sun rose, my mind still fresh with the most recent dream I had, I planted my feet on the carpeted floor and headed to the bathroom. I had laid out everything the night before – toothbrush, hairbrush, toothpaste, pills. After finishing my regular routine, I headed to the closet where I had laid out the clothes I was going to wear for this trip.

I knew that at 4:00 in the morning I was not going to have the clarity to make clothing decisions. That being said, I tossed the blouse I had picked out in favor of something more cheerful — bright blue instead of olive green.

Grabbing my cell phone, I headed downstairs where I put my jacket on and headed to the garage door. My husband was ready to take me to the airport.

Suitcase – check. Computer bag – check. Cell phone – check. My obsessive compulsive disorder kicked in but this time I was prepared so I wasn’t missing anything.

I was glad to be driven to the airport. My night (or early morning) vision is not what it used to be like in my younger days. (It’s hardly believable to me that I can say those words “in my younger days.” Being in my mid-fifties but not quite 55, I have noticed what my “older” friends keep telling me, ie it doesn’t get better.)

Being a morning person, I could have chatted all the way to the airport but today was a wee bit early for me as yesterday I had the beginnings of a migraine. The pain was not severe enough to debilitate me but bad enough that I had to take a nap, have a cup of coffee, and pop an Excedrin for Migraine. So no chattiness for me.

Once at the airport, I got out of the car and grabbed my carry-on suitcase only to find that the handle would not lift. So I had to carry it the old-fashioned way — with the handle.

Heading to the security line I went through all the motions – shoes off, jacket off, computer out of the bag. I was thankful that today was not a TSA molestation day, ie I went through a metal detector instead of being groped. The groping will be done on the way back to Minnesota — unthankfully.

On the way to my gate, I passed a Dunn Brothers Coffee House but could not stop as there was no way I could carry a hot chocolate in my hand while trying to handle the two other items I was carrying. After a quick restroom trip, I settled into my chair to wait for boarding.

A few Muslin women were sitting further ahead of me. Four of them stood up, passed me and stood facing east and audibly but quietly prayed. A little later, a man joined the women who were sitting then stood up, found a place by himself and started praying. Then he bowed. And bowed. And bowed. I don’t believe I ever had the experience of actually watching a Muslim during one of their five prayer times.

I watched the expression of the other passengers. Some looked curiously but most tried not to stare.

Finally it was time to board. I had reserved a window seat and was glad to know that the plane was not full so the gentleman in the middle seat moved elsewhere.

I opened my computer bag and took out a new book I’m reading by Terrence Real. It’s called “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” and is about men and depression. I’m finding more and more people I know are going through depression — both men and women, young and old.

After reading 3 chapters (which were very interesting), the pilot announced we would be making our descent into Seattle. What?!!! Time passed so quickly.

Three chapters. “Not bad” I told myself. Three chapters doesn’t seem like much but I am a slow reader and have to read and re-read a book in order for the words to stick in my brain. Growing up, I never really learned how to read. For history, I quickly scanned what I needed to know and memorized it on the bus the morning of a test. Then it was forgotten.

As I get older, I find my retention and understanding is getting better but I sometimes forget my words — or they’ll come at an inopportune time. The other day, I was trying to remember the word for the “thing” that the wood pile sits on. I thought and thought and thought but it would not come to me. Later, staring into my dark bedroom, the word PALLET screamed itself into my brain. The next morning, I looked at my husband and screamed PALLET! We both had a good laugh.

I was glad during this trip that the gentleman 2 seats away slept all the way through.

Following the directions on my paperwork for the rental car, I went to the nearest Enterprise counter at the airport terminal only to be turned away by the Budget representative. Oops! Wrong line.  Going to the “right” line, I was met by a sign. “Please take the shuttle to the off-airport terminal.” What a bother! I had trudged all the way to the other side of the airport to get to this counter with my un-rollable suitcase in hand only to have to walk all the way back to the other side since the middle escalators were down for repair.

The shuttle came quickly and the counter people were quick. When I got into the car though it smelled like someone had been smoking inside so a new one was assigned to me.

Leaving the Enterprise parking lot, I handed my contract and license to a young man who checked to make sure everything was okay. After handing it back to me, I asked him “Which direction to the airport?” Oh — great, I thought “he doesn’t speak English very well.” He pointed right and then right which was wrong. Oh well.

Eventually I made my way to Highway 99 which was backed up for, I don’t know, rain? The pilot had announced “Welcome to sunny Seattle” although only rain poured through the sky.

Looking down from the plane, I reminisced about how much I missed Seattle. I thought about my friends, my old house, all the good times. Once I hit this traffic I realized that I wasn’t missing actually living here. Cars sat bumper to bumper for about 35 minutes until finally I was set free to ride the speed limit.

Since I was early for my lunch appointment with a dear couple I know, I took a trip down memory lane and passed by our old house. Then I headed into a coffee house called Holy Grounds. The cocoa was good as was the fresh chocolate chip cookie.

After lunch I’ll head to my friends house and from there we’ll head to another friends’ 60th birthday barbecue. Although, unless something changes quickly, I doubt we’ll be outdoors. Still — the thought of being with friends who I haven’t seen in 4 months is comforting.

Seattle welcomes me with sameness — traffic, rain but mostly true friends.

I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression (Paperback)

 

 

 

 

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