Friday, May 3, 2013

We've arrived. It's Friday morning, May 3, 2013, and after a week's travel, Chester, Bellie and I have arrived at our destination.

I'm exhausted. Weary. My head hurts, and I'm having a hard time with the necessity of social structure when living with another person. I want complete introversion. Silence. My own set of rules and boundaries.

I want to let the catnip ruin the perfection of a sparkling clean floor. I want to leave the pile of clothes I wore in the car yesterday lay on the guest bedroom floor. I don't want to pull up the comforter of the guest bed, or put the fancy pillows back in their place. I want to sit with coffee and write. I want to ignore everything else for as long as I need in order to stop vibrating.

Yesterday is a blur of long miles. I listened to two programs on NPR in Ohio before finishing up Maron's book. Ohio euthanized a criminal on Wednesday night and Maryland passed a bill outlawing capital punishment. There was a discussion about the failures of the judicial process, the large percentages of innocent people going to jail; about innocent men being killed because of the corruption of police and district attorneys. How we can accept the percentages of guilty people who get off due to technicalities, and/or the limitations of the jury process, but it's harder to listen to or accept the percentages of innocents who get convicted for the same reasons. Interesting stuff, at least to me.

The next program was about service dogs -- the various categories, the temperament needed to be a cancer detecting dog (smell); a hearing dog; a dog who cares for people with mobility limitations; a dog who assist in the recovery of criminals in prison, victims of trauma, etc. This was a sweet show - if not a bit too technical. I wanted to hear stories where the individual dogs were named, given their due.

I passed Kent State, which made me think of days gone by when Americans really protested the inequities and inhumanity of our government -- and our nation's self-involved perspectives in foreign policy.

I finished Maron's book, none of which made me laugh or even snigger. He is, as he admits, completely self-involved. I was sort of sick of listening to his tortured internal dialogue when I had one going on myself. Ok, so we're both completely self-involved. Sigh.

I downloaded another book, Defending Jacob, in the Motel 6 that morning, and was able to start that. It's good. The narrator is top notch (as all the listener reviewers told me); the story compelling. The characters nuanced. Definite.

All in all, I was really ready to be out of the car and onto solid ground. I had had five long days of driving; the first three and the last two days. When I would get out of the car at rest stops, or at the Motel 6 at day's end, my body would be physically vibrating. It took a long night's sleep to ground my body to the reality of not moving.

I didn't sleep all that well in the motels, and I had to anticipate Chester and Bellie's needs -- feed them kitty valium when they became a bit too anxious; coax them into eating and drinking water at rest stops. They were very needy (I think they were completely bored) yesterday. Our last day on the road. Maybe they picked up on my own emerging vulnerability. Not sure, but they seem more than happy to just sit looking out the window of the guest bedroom.

Sami the German Shephard/Whippet mix is entirely excited about their arrival. The cats? Meh, not so much. They'll work it out. Bellie and Chester became friends with our 95-pound Flat-Coated Retriever, Max (our = my RDP and me). I think they'll ultimately be able to adjust to Sami. And, vice versa (visualize scenes of hair-raising bouts of hissing and claws-out swipes in the face of Sami's friendly overtures).

Laura has been incredible -- setting up our room not only for me (empty drawers and closet); but for Chester and Bellie - a baby gate so they can escape from Sami; scratch boxes with catnip; taking extra allergy meds. She also set up a desk area for me on the dining room table. Thoughtful. Considerate. And, she likes me. After 23 years of getting to know me including two failed romantic relationships. That's so comforting and relaxing. And, the feeling is entirely mutual.

My five long days of driving were not only physically demanding, they were were also an ocean or endless sky of internal processing. Thick, muddy waters or grey, overcast days of processing. I don't think I'm done. I'm a little uncomfortable with our "arrival" in New York, much like the discomfort of "arriving" at a meditation retreat. This sort of arrival is about bringing the mind in alignment with the body's presence in a different time/space location. A realization of "no where to go, no thing to do." My goal has been reached.

Time for reconoitering. I have some work to do on my sister-in-law's internet project. That will take up a lot of my time/energy in the week to come. I need to unpack my bags in the guest room, the guest bathroom. My book is awaiting my attention. And, there are travel plans to be made to see all of my east coast family.

There is a trip to Florida to see my mother's mother, and my high school BFF, Claudine and her husband Dave (I get to meet their daughter Mariella - which is exciting - the next generation).  My oldest step-brother, Rikk, his wife and their beautiful horde of four children live somewhere around Queens, NY. My ealy childhood friend, Fiona is in New Jersey.

Then there is the longer road trip to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine to see family: my mother's sister Janet and her two daughters, Anne and Meghan are in MASS, CT and VT respectively. I don't know if I'll visit her son, Matt - I think he's in Boston. (Maybe we can all plan a get-together in one place. I'll have to investigate.)

My father's sister, Jane, is in Maine with her significant other of decades, David, and their several large dogs and cats. I'm named after my Aunt Jane. I am Allison Jane. I feel that I fit in with Jane and David. With my father's family, more than my mother's. I lived -- most of the time -- with my Dad in junior high school and high school. That's where I'm comfortable. Familiar.

I also want to visit East Granby, CT, where I grew up. Where I left my "home" 35 years ago when my mother left us and moved to Northern California to find herself. Before I followed her out to NorCal and ensconsed myself in the gentle seasons of that place. Built a life around a stressful career and "I shoulds." Where I ran multiple romantic relationships aground, but made some of the best friends the world has to offer.

All in all, I've been blessed by this journey across the United States; 11 states in all. Of course, one journey is simply a leg in the overall journey of being Allison (fill in your name). There is more to come. I will keep writing. Maybe you'll stay with me...that would be nice.

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