Friday, October 3, 2014

"Travel Tremors - Part Two"

There’s this joke I love – which I have referenced before – from the movie Two For the Road (1967), starring Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn.

Two For The Road intermixes a series of trips through the South of France, taken by a couple during the various stages of their lives.  At one point, as youthful newlyweds, they hitch a ride with a stuffy married couple and their obstreperous young daughter.  Undisciplined by her laissez faire parents, the daughter, upset about something, grabs the car keys, and tosses them into a nearby, I don’t know, corn field.  Something with tall stuff growing in it.

While the two couples futilely search for the missing car keys, Albert Finney asks the “by-the-book” husband/driver, “Don’t you have a spare set of keys?”  To which the husband/driver haughtily replies,

“If we use the spare, then we won’t have a spare.”

As I prepare for our eighteen-day journey to Turkey, I am confronted by the dilemma of either using up all my backup blog posts or, instead, reprising some old favorites.  I ponder the option of eating up my accumulated backups, and the thought rises immediately to mind:

“If I use up my backups, then I won’t have backups.”

It is disheartening to suddenly see yourself as a joke that you once thought was hilarious.

I don’t know, I will probably go “Old Testament” on the problem and split the difference – offering part new material, part carefully selected reprises.  That way, I will still be some blog posts ahead when I come, while sparing my esteemed readership the prospect of three weeks of recycled material.

Now, concerning another previously alluded to situation…

The shaking.

As mentioned yesterday, before we set out on some upcoming adventure, we traditionally lie down on our bed and gyrate uncontrollably, while verbalizing our extended litany of concerns about the excursion, in hopes of defusing our simmering anxieties.

In the last post, I ran down a list of highly troubling “What if’s” – “What if it’s terrible?”  “What if we built it up too much?”, “What if we get lost and are never heard from again?” and the like.  (Note:  Dr. M indeed did get lost in the circuitous labyrinth of Pompeii.  She was, however, fortunately rediscovered.  But it took an hour, and it could very easily have gone the other way.) 

Why would we deliberately want to scare ourselves, a well-balanced, healthy person might curiously inquire?  I don’t think we do.  We’re just frightened people.  Also, imagining the worst inoculates us against the trip’s inevitable difficulties and disappointments, allowing us to say afterwards, “It may not have been perfect.  But it was sure better than we imagined it would be.”

For us, it is “Win-win.”   Our appreciation of a trip that turns out to be wonderful is only augmented by our trepidations beforehand that it would stink.  You see that?  We can’t lose! 

This is bizarre thinking, I know.  Though not quite as bizarre as the insight that popped into my head just this morning.

During my morning meditation, our pre-trip ritual floated into my consciousness, and, as often occurs in my meditation, I began to perceive the situation from a fresh and illuminating perspective.

What if – and hold onto your hats here – my concern is actually the opposite of what I am saying it is?  What if I am not afraid that the trip will fall short of my expectations, but instead that it will be so fabulous that, whoever or whatever system in the universe is responsible for such matters will be compelled to “balance the books” by inflicting upon me some commensurate punishment? 

(Note:  It is not unlikely that this convoluted (and in no way recommended) thought process encompasses my entire attitude about my career.  While constantly complaining, I was actually having the time of my life.  I just didn’t want anybody to know about it.  

(And require me to pay.) 

Anyway, there’s that. 

And now…we are off, come what may, to Turkey. 

I’ll be back with some hopefully interesting stories. 

Though, hopefully, not too interesting.
It's a loaded calendar today.  First, it's Dr, M's birthday.  As a psychologist, Dr. M requires as much confidentiality as possible.  That's why you don't hear as much about her as I would prefer to pass on.  But let there be no doubt.  I am a truly fortunate fellow.  And I wish her the best.

Also, though it rarely takes "Second Position", for those who observe, tonight marks the culmination of the Jewish religion's Ten Days of Atonement.  Tomorrow night, we are either inscribed in the Book of Life, or we're not.  What can I tell you?  Fingers crossed.  Which, for all I know,  is a Christian superstition. 


Orion C. said...

Here's a suggestion: you're on vacation - don't post anything. Do what Mark Twain would do. Take a few notes each day, then when you get back, you'll have a trove of travel-treasures which you can publish as another Innocents Abroad (or Roughing It, depending on the trip). Happy B-day & Bon Voyage!

Dave Olden said...

Ditto to Orion...

I think enjoying your trip trumps new postings.

Bon Voyage! or the Turkish equivalent!

Dave Olden said...

According to google translate it's
"Iyi yolculuklar" :)