Prior to flying to some far off destination, Dr. M and I have a longstanding tradition that we never fail to include in our pre-departure preparations.
We lie down on our bed,
And we shake.
Our standard M.O. is to gyrate uncontrollably, while frantically verbalizing our formerly submerged anxieties concerning the impending alteration to our everyday routine:
“What if we hate it?”
“What if it’s stupid?”
“What if it’s too long?”
“What if we wasted our money?”
“What if we get hurt?”
“What if we get sick?’’
“What if we get robbed?”
“What if we get kidnapped and beheaded?”
And that’s for trips to New York!
We are going to Turkey. (So “What if we get kidnapped and beheaded?” is not entirely over the top. I know that was… I’m actually not sure where that was. But if it was Syria, that is directly next door to Turkey. And Iraq is precariously just down the road.)
“Heebie-jeebies”, especially concerning places you have never visited before, I would suggest, are natural. And “shaking”, releasing our trepidations into the open, may, in fact, be a healthy, liberating response. Though you do not want to take your “externalizing” to an unhelpful extreme. For one thing, excessive gyrationing can easily throw out a person’s back. Wait – there’s another one!
“What if I throw out my back?”
Admittedly, not all of our worries have been generated by “The Unknown.” (Traditionally followed by a ghostly, terror-inducing “Whoo-ing” sound.) “What if it’s too long?” is a problem that is entirely of our own making.
WARNING: What I am about to reveal may come out sounding elitist. (I can never tell about those things. Once, while visiting a Masai village in Kenya, I exclaimed, “Man! I just stepped in cow shit!” only to discover that the entire village was made out of cow shit. To its Masai inhabitants, however, it was simply “home.”)
Due to certain physiological requirements, we make a point on our long distance journeys to fly “Business Class”, using our credit card “miles” (plus additional “surprise” surcharges) to upgrade our seating from “Coach.”
By flying “Business Class”, we hope to arrive at our destination without needing the immediate services of a chiropractor. I realize that not all “Coach” travelers walk off the plane doubled over like a pretzel, but… I don’t know, maybe it’s an “age” thing. (Or we are simply being elitist.)
Because it’s the way the airlines works – and they are entirely in control in this matter – you cannot always access your “upgrading” miles on the days you would ideally prefer to fly. What that means in practical terms is that you can only “upgrade” when you are permitted to “upgrade.” The result being that, on this trip to Turkey – as with a trip we took not long ago to London – our vacations are invariably – and involuntarily – longer than we would actually like them to be.
Three years ago, a seven-day “London Theater Tour” package expanded to a sixteen-day excursion. Our trip to Turkey – a scheduled ten-day outing – will, beyond our control or desire, balloon to eighteen days. That’s right. We are paying for eight extra travel days…
For leg room.
“What if it’s too long?” is, therefore, an entirely appropriate concern. (A consequence of which involves this venue, which will require me to be fifteen blog posts ahead in my writing. Add “What if I can’t do it?” to my building litany of aggravations.)
My travel preparations have also revealed a previously unrecognized conservatism in my character. For convenience sake, I had decided to take along a recently purchased battery operated electric shaver (the last time I used an electric shaver was after I received one for my Bar Mitzvah), and my Kindle apparatus instead of volumes of heavily weighing-down reading material.
But then I hear myself bleat:
“What if they don’t work?”
My reflexive response to this possible calamity is, as a precaution, to not only pack the battery electric shaver and the Kindle, but to also bring along my blade razor and shaving cream and actual books, reducing my anxiety but multiplying the encumbrance.
“Holy ‘belt and suspenders’, Batman! That’s not a good idea, is it?”
I’m sorry. I’m going to have to continue this tomorrow.
Suddenly, I feel an overpowering necessity to shake.