Saturday, May 31, 2014


I wrote this several weeks ago, but lacked time to post it.

Today is International Recycling Day according to our local newspaper, which included a special supplement on the subject. (Also included were heavy glossy magazines from department stores and a travel agency, one dedicated entirely to SWEATERS, and another to the latest in giant TVs, promising the same sensation as actually BEING at the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.)
I took a big load today to our local recycling center, not because it’s International Recycling Day. I’m just tying up loose ends before we travel to New York tomorrow. I expected a line at the recycling center, but I was the only one there.
Preparing for a trip does weird things to my head. I feel the need to put order in my life and our house, rather like emptying an Inbox labeled “Life”. I cleaned up a pile of papers in my study – drafts and rewrites and more rewrites – which gave me a light, uncluttered feeling. I checked the garden for any urgent last minute snipping or spraying, responded to all the pending emails and deleted all the spam (over one hundred!), and bought boxes of pills to cover my medical needs for two weeks. I’ll sort them into bags marked “a.m.” “p.m.” and “other”.  
Next on my list is choosing a lightweight paperback to read on the plane. I’ve only read half of Cien Años de Soledad but this deluxe edition is way too heavy for travel. I do worry that, when I return, I will have totally forgotten who is who among all the Aurelios and the Arcadios.
I could spend hours at the Strand bookstore in New York. But there’s never enough time to browse and then there’s the tough decision of narrowing down my choices to what will fit in my suitcase.

“Narrowing down” is a must when traveling. And in life. What do I need? What are the essentials? For this trip? For my life? I feel a certain anxiety about leaving home, because it involves some uprooting, if only temporary. To travel I must leave behind the known and the comfortable while also I go forth to the novel, the stimulating and eye-opening unknown. I am ready for that. Long stretches of time in the same routine in this city stultify me.

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