Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Week of Liberation

Every two years, txrad takes a trip up to North Dakota to visit family and today is his travel day. Because this travel is so infrequent I tend to forget how anxious I get in the hours leading up to his departure.

Yesterday was packing day and it was as if he was half gone already. As I sat here trying to concentrate on my work, he was busy gathering essentials for his trip, charging the cellphone, packing toiletries into 3-ounce bottles, and other tasks associated with travel.

The alarm clock, which we never use, went off at 3:30 this morning. As added insurance, we had two clocks set to go off at 3:30. One corded electric clock, and one battery-powered atomic clock. You never know when a power outage might happen, even when there is no inclement weather present, so it's nice to have that added level of certainty.

txrad set the atomic clock's alarm yesterday but it didn't go off this morning. He even put in fresh batteries yesterday. (Did I mention we like to plan for certainty?) Assuming the clock was probably made in China, I told him to blame the Chinese.

We hit the road as planned at 4:15 for the trip to the airport. There were very few cars on the highway at that time of the morning and by 4:35 we were at the terminal. He let out a big sigh, kissed me on the lips, and seconds later I was alone as I will be for the next week. By 4:59 I was back at home brewing coffee for one.

As I sit here typing at 5:58 AM, I'm thinking about the weirdness of air travel. Delivering txrad to the airport 90 minutes ahead of departure seems like such a waste of time. While he's technically "gone," he's still out there at the airport, having "gone" nowhere. And yet, by the time I log in for work this morning he will already be in Denver. Strange how that happens. And shortly after I'm done eating lunch, he will be driving a rental car through western North Dakota.

There is something very liberating about dropping off a spouse at the airport and knowing that you will have to assume 100% responsibility for everything while that person is gone. Yesterday I was riddled with anxiety and depression related to his journey, and this morning I feel a calming sense of relief, "unfettered and alive," to quote Joni Mitchell.

There is no 50/50 anything. There is no sharing and no compromise to make. There is just me and I can choose to deviate from my normal routine in any way I choose. I have the dishwasher running at 6:08. I will bake muffins before work. I can clean the refrigerator and throw out anything I choose. I make take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. In theory, I could even paint the office.

I am responsible for feeding myself. I haven't been involved in meal preparation in a few months. This will be fun!

The plane is departing right now as I post this.

Oh, and I figured out why the alarm didn't go off on the atomic clock. While setting the time, txrad managed to change the time zone from Central to Pacific. Can't blame the Chinese for that.

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