July 26th, 2008

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Travel demons

For some reason (don't tell me, if you know--I don't want to) before every trip I find myself imagining that horrible things are going to happen to my family/home/animals while I'm away.

This morning was no exception.   I woke up happy (well, as happy as you can be when sunlight spears you in the eyeballs after you stayed up too late reading a book by Someone Else, but happy) and immediately fell into a semi-dream-state in which I was driving somewhere in the Panhandle on the way to Denver only to be stopped by a highway patrolman to tell me my family had all been killed in a car crash and they needed me to come back immediately.  My iterative brain then insisted on taking me through everything I *should* remember to do in that dire circumstance..."Call so-and-so..." "Do you have their number with you?  What about such-and-so's number?"  Who to call about what, in what order, what words to use....I got out of bed finally and no amount of tooth-brushing could clear out the gummy mental residue of imagined disaster.

After a bowl of cereal, some eggs and bacon, and putting on jeans instead of pjs, my head began to clear.  But every single time I'm away overnight, I have to go through this....what will I do if...???

It's never my own demise, or my own serious injury, though I'm the one on the airplane at 40,000 feet over the Pacific (I have flown in the plane that blew out a hole in flight), or the one driving on interstates along with huge trucks laden with dangerous cargo and driven by people who think they own the road, plus a collection of drunks, drug-users, and others in various ill-maintained vehicles, or the one on a train whose track I  have not personally inspected and about whose engineer I know nothing.  I don't worry (much) about those things...I worry about husband falling off the roof, having a heart attack, having a stroke, kid being shot while at work by a crazed (or criminal) person who storms into the pizza shop with a gun, or the both of them being killed on I-35 or 183 while going to or from work or choir practice or church (and killed on the road is the likeliest--there was a fatal crash on the road out of this town last night, which delayed them getting back from a movie.)   Or a horse being hit by lightning, bitten by a rattlesnake, catching a leg in a fence, eating something toxic again, or otherwise becoming injured or dead.  Or a  grass fire (not that unlikely in this drought and heat) or brush fire (ditto) or house fire (ditto, esp. if someone walks away from the kitchen stove while a burner's on...it's happened to both of us) or a giant rock falling out of the sky and obliterating the town while I'm not there. 

Well, that should be out  of the way now, because I have mapped out contingency plans for being stopped on the road for bad news this side of Abilene, between Abilene and Lubbock, between Lubbock and Amarillo, between Amarillo and Denver, etc. etc.  It's probably magical thinking: the disaster for which you have thoroughly planned is the one that, seeing it can't spring on you out of nowhere, doesn't happen.

If if does, I will blame having written the previous sentence.

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