Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Getting Off

Getting started on a new trip is one of the hardest things in my life. It is the most drawn out, stressful thing I can do to myself. In the three-plus decades I've been married (I lose track of the decimals) the most severe arguments we have had have all happened in the last few hours before hitting the road.

So I've learned to expect the delays. I've learned to sit patiently for hours as my wife tells me, "We're almost done." I've learned that every projected deadline is false.

For example. Archon, the science fiction convention I am going to attend in the St. Louis area, begins on Thursday. We had planned to leave much earlier and take a pleasant and scenic route through Colorado and visit a few days in Yellowstone before heading back east. Quickly, Yellowstone dropped off the agenda. Then a few days later, Colorado was too far. But instead we were going to visit a Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, so Mary Ann could take a few pictures. We would leave on Thursday, a week before the Con, and take our time getting there.

By the time Thursday arrived, Mary Ann was hoping to get off on Saturday, or by Sunday at the earliest. By Friday, Monday morning was the firm deadline. Sunday, it was Monday afternoon. Monday morning, she hoped to be gone by 8 PM.

At 9 o'clock, when she returned from many important errands, we both knew that we wouldn't be leaving Monday.

So this morning, I was awake and dressed in the early dawn light, but I just couldn't feel the urgency to leave immediately. I knew that would never happen.

It also helped to know that I have driven to St. Louis in one day several years ago. (The log of that weekend trip, 900 miles there and another 900 back over a two-day marathon is recorded in one of my archived blogs.) So even though driving with the RV is best done in 300 mile per day sessions, I have this confidence that even with more delays, I could still make it before I'm supposed to be at my scheduled events.

Mary Ann has claimed that she's finished packing three times now, and all that she lacks is her shower. So who knows. We may leave today after all.

But I wouldn't bet money on it.

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