Notes on the Journey

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A New Era

It's the 4th of July.  It's 9:00pm, and a huge fireworks display just started going off with a vengeance.  I've chosen to stay in my hotel room with my kitties because the fireworks explosions just across the street from where we are, accompanied by cheering crowds of people and police sirens, is not what they consider to be a good time.  The building is also shaking in response to the explosions, so without me here with them, they'd think all kinds of dire things were happening.

It's not my choice to be staying in a hotel across the street from where the fireworks are happening.  But, it's the only hotel close to my new apartment that would take me and my three kitties.  Finding a pet friendly hotel that will let me leave the kitties in the room unattended and not caged was a bit difficult.  We arrived this morning from Albuquerque after driving all night.  And, we don't get to move in to our new apartment until Saturday.  So, this noisy little cubby of a room is our temporary living space.

The trip from Albuquerque was thirteen hours, driven at night to avoid the heat that's been high across the Southwest.  When you drive at night, it's just you and the road.  There's no scenery to enjoy or distract you from the monotony of endless hours of driving.  There is less traffic to deal with, there are less trucks to pass, but there are more blinding headlights--in front and behind.  And, there's the body's desire for sleep because, normally, you'd be comfortably in bed dreaming as the night passed.  But, my desire to get to California was strong, and my desire to keep the kitties cooler and more comfortable was my main objective.  I drive very fast, and even with that, the hours of the drive dragged on endlessly.  But, as the morning dawned, we managed to pull in to our hotel in Ocean Beach at around 6:30am.  Another plus to the hotel is that they agreed to let me check in at this hour without an extra charge.

When we left Albuquerque, the kitties were in their carriers perched above piled-up luggage so that they could see out the front window of the car.  They were not happy about being trapped in their carriers and the prospect of time on the road, so they yelled at me incessantly.  About 15 minutes into the drive, my older female had an unfortunate attack of nervous diarrhea in her carrier.  At this point, the kitties escalated their yelling to all out screaming.  We were no where near a gas station, and all I could hope was that one would appear soon.  About 15 minutes later, thank goodness, I pulled off at a gas station attached to one of the numerous New Mexico casinos.

I took my cat into the travel services building looking for the bathroom.  I was horrified to find it and realize it was not an enclosed space at all.  It was one of those bathrooms that you walk around a wall extension into without a door.  And, all the stalls opened into the room.  I stopped in my tracks and tried to think how I'd be able to remove my upset cat from her carrier and clean her and it without losing her into the depths of the huge travel services building.  I finally proceeded into the handicapped stall, put her carrier on the floor, opened it, and lifted her out.  She tried to escape, but I managed to capture her with my lightening reflexes.  Adrenaline does amazing things to the body.

She was covered in feces as was the carrier.  I plunged ahead.  She's my child.  What's a little shit?  She allowed me to wipe her off as best I could.  She then, thank God, decided to allow me to hold her with one hand while I wiped out the carrier with my other hand.  I removed her soft carrier pad because it was not salvageable.  I'd brought a plastic bag in with me into which the soiled pad went and then into the trash can.  Once the carrier was cleaned as well as I could clean it under the circumstances, she went back in...willingly.  At this point, I realized I had shit on my t-shirt and my pants.  Deep sigh.  I did my best to clean it off so I didn't reek the whole rest of the way to San Diego.  With both of us a little worse for wear, we then trudged out of the bathroom and headed for the car.

I put my dear, semi-traumatized cat back in the car.  The other two kitties were happy to see her and to realize that things had been cleaned up.  We headed out again.  Take 2.  My cats continued to yell at me for most of the thirteen hours of the drive.  There were times when they were especially loud, other times when they whimpered softly, and other times when they meowed in indignant, staccato bursts.  It was horrifying.  And, because of the previous diarrhea event, I prayed that the continuous meows would not result in further messy incidents.  My prayers were answered.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am now in the part of San Diego where I lived in my late teens and early twenties.  It was in this place that I first lived when I moved out of my parent's house and was on my own.  It was in this place that I first fell in love.  The joyous part of my youth was spent here, and now I return.  I've been gone for almost 40 years.  A very long time.  Lots of water under the bridge.  And yet, the joy of my youth remains and colors my perceptions of this place.  I am ecstatic to be at the beach again.  I am ecstatic to be near the ocean...specifically, to be near this beach, and this part of the ocean.  It is a beautiful place and I feel nurtured by it visually and energetically.

We can't repeat the past.  Things happen and go by and new things arise in their place.  My happy youth and the love of that time are long gone.  I am not that girl anymore.  The woman I am now is very different from that carefree girl.  And yet, it makes me feel hopeful to be here.  I've been in a bit of limbo since I retired from script supervising a year ago.  But, I now feel another chapter starting.  I'm not yet clear how things will go or what shape they will take, but I feel hopeful about things in a way that I haven't for a very long time.  The other benefit of being here is that I get to be near my sister.  We weren't that close for many years, each of us living our lives and going our separate ways.  But, in the last year, we've become closer and we've talked to each other more frequently, and I'm so happy to now be living close to her.

So, I start my life again, as I've done many times in the past, but with more hope this time.  And, this time, I'm looking forward to settling and creating a life that nurtures and sustains me with its continuity.  I'm tired of constant traveling, and of moving over and over.  I'm wanting some stability at this point.

I soak in the essence of this place and allow all the memories to flow through me.  I enjoy them and thank them and focus on the now and what I want to create in this moment.  I embark on this new chapter quieter than in my youth, with a heart that's more open, with more subdued expectations, and with a greater ability to accept and enjoy the now.  And, once again, and always, I am eternally grateful.


  1. Thanks for sharing this part of your journey with us. Wow, what an intense 13 hours! Glad you've made it home safely, and soon you'll be relaxing in your own little sanctuary, in your own new way. :^)

  2. That's a roadtrip all right!! Glad all four of you are safe and almost in your new abode. Stay happy, stay healthy and keep posting!