I’m not just writing the book. I’m living it. Yes, research is necessary, but…geesh.
On Tuesday night, Jeff drove me to St. Louis to the airport. I usually take myself, but he was evaluating the car’s highway behavior. My Thursday presentation in Virginia Beach, VA was the destination. Take off was 9:14 a.m. Wednesday. We were in no real rush. We just wanted dinner before bed.
Before locking the house, I checked for lights, phones and chargers – oh, and Lily White, the black Lab, needed food an water. The two hour drive was uneventful, as was hotel check-in. Lombardo’s fed us well and has the best dipping oil in the Western Hemisphere.
We went to get our luggage from the car. Jeff grabbed his.
“Where’s mine?” I asked.
It was hard to see inside the dark car and lighting wasn’t great. Still, my royal blue roller bag should’ve been obvious. Except it wasn’t. I’d forgotten to carry it out of the house while checking everything else.
We looked at each other and knew instinctively. We were NOT driving two hours each way for Bobbe’s bag. That meant two nights and two days without stuff. Nice.
How could this work?
I needed a mental moment.
We were shocked at my reaction, mostly because there wasn’t much of one.
Inventory assessment lasted through the night. Make-up: check. Toothbrush: check. Medications: check. Spare pair of underwear: check-check. Mom taught me that. As for clothes, the suit I’d worn to work, could work for my Virginia work. Fortunately, I hadn’t changed before leaving town. Nobody would know I’d forgotten my suitcase. What I didn’t have was, well, anything else.
WAIT! There were clothes in the car. I had taken extra clothes to the gym Saturday: long t-shirt dress, jean jacket, swimsuit, flip-flops and (clean) workout socks. I know. Only me. There was a t-shirt for the Salvation Army in the car, but it came with me instead.
Why on earth would I have these clothes in the car? My sister’s pool was closing that previous weekend. Before plans changed, I was going to help. Fortunately, I never removed the clothing from the car. I would make do. Or shop. This could work.
Then there were my program materials. I had a few items with me. Other props were in the suitcase. If there was a Walgreens nearby, that could work. Uh-oh. I had forgotten little cards needed for my program, but the print shop from home emailed the file. Office Depot was near the hotel. Things were looking up, with a bit of hustle.
7:00 p.m. The order was ready. But, and this is a BIG but, one card was two-sided, except Office Depot’s printer broke. Instead, they printed the sides on separate sheets instead. This called for a scissors, glue stick and several hours of assembly.
11:00 p.m. I’d glued fifty cards together. Time for lights out. Hopefully, my body clock would remain on central time so I wouldn’t be tired. I could glue the remaining fronts to backs in the morning, prior to my 8:15 presentation. (If you attended my presentation, this explains why those “Stress No Evil” cards were thick little devils!)
Family and friends suggested shopping for clothing I need. I exercised restraint and settled for a new top to work with what I had. It seemed wrong to reward my forgetfulness – or what Jeff calls, “lack of focus” – with a shopping spree.
Do you know that traveling light was great? I felt like a minimalist. Rick Steves, the travel guru, might be impressed. But I doubt it.
Before returning the rental car to the airport for my departure, it steered me to the beach. The clouds were heavy and gray. The wind blew sand continuously on a cool day. But when oceans are THAT close, they always cry, “Bobbeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
The waves repeatedly slapped the shore. Noisy fighter planes roared overhead. Blowing sand stung me from every direction. Even so, my beach fix was satisfied. Meanwhile, Jeff sent a picture of my suitcase standing in the middle of our family room. Lily wasn’t sure if I’d left or not. Before long I’d return home, as I’d left it. With very little.
Very little clothing.
Very little replacement purchases.
Very little angst.
And most importantly, very little angst.
It felt like this was a small victory, especially when compared to different reactions from earlier stages of my life. There are times when we lament growing older. But they are leveled off with moments like these which make me thankful to have reached this age and stage.
And I didn’t even need my swimsuit. Go figure.