Monday Smiles – 9/15/2014
My wife, Muri, and I are not travelers. That doesn’t mean we never travel, it just means we get uncomfortable when we are away from home from more than a week, especially when we are far from home. After years of business travel, I’ve adapted to the rigors of flying … I actually enjoy it once I’m on the plane … but I hate airports. Damn tourists, you know? Muri can be slightly claustrophobic and endures flying. Neither of us have ever flown for longer than 10 hours. This weekend we will be airborne for a total of 15 hours by the time we make it to Rome. Rome. I am never comfortable in a place where I don’t speak the language in spite of a cool little app I found, SpeakEasy Italian, that teaches useful Italian phrases. This old brain doesn’t absorb languages very well. We will be gone for 12 days, which is 5 days outside our comfort zone. The topper: I have a report due to our biggest customer this week. Needless to say, it’s a bit crazy around here.
Muri and I have a very different style of preparing for trips. She writes lots of lists, usually starting well in advance of departure and spends a lot of time thinking about what she’ll bring and how she’ll pack it. I tend to make lists in my head, lists on which what to bring and how to pack fall to the bottom. Yes, I’m a last minute packer. We worry about different things: me, will I have internet access and will my cell phone work; her, do we need Euros in advance and will there be a hair dryer on the ship. This morning, I walked into the bedroom and she was sitting on the bed, thinking. After our years together, we can tell when each other is trying to figure something out. She crinkles her brow and looks around the room. I bite my forearm. Not hard, honest. Unless it’s a hard problem. She is having trouble deciding what bag to use as her carry-on, the one we bought last week or the one that came with her new luggage. After she explained her dilemma, I asked her, Maybe we could buy an assortment of carry-ons and you could try them out, then return the ones you don’t want. Trying to be funny, you know, but succeeding only in own my mind. Or, I could pack YOU in my suitcase and leave you in the airport, Muri said. Trying to be funny, you know, but not. It will be an interesting week. Afterwards, we laughed about it and agreed, preparing for a trip is one of our least compatible times. And that is the benefit of being together for 50 years … we can laugh at each others peccadilloes and, even though they can still annoy us, they are part of that package called love.
Last night, we sat together and watched the 1981 film, On Golden Pond, starring Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda as an old couple visiting their vacation home in the woods. It was Henry Fonda’s last film. When we saw it in 1981, we liked it, but last night, speaking for myself anyway, I loved it. I laughed and cried throughout because in many ways, it is was about us. Yes, Henry Fonda was far more curmudgeonly that I am (thank God) and Katherine Hepburn far more verbose than Muri (thank God). But it was about loving each other, peccadilloes and all, which is the ultimate reward for staying together. At least that’s what I think.
It’s Monday. I’m a lucky man. Some might say a lucky dog, but I’m a cat person. And I’m smiling.