Friday, May 21, 2010

My Tick-Free Travel Fantasy

Remember when I broke up with Road Tripp?  And you know how when you're a young girl, inexperienced in the ways of love, and you end a bad relationship, but then find yourself dreaming of that old, bad boyfriend and wanting nothing more than one more try?  One more chance to make it work?

*Sigh*  I guess I haven't grown up yet.

Let me tell you about my morning commute.

It all started so...reasonably.  So professionally, with such nose-to-the-grindstone spirit!  I had just dropped my son at the sitter, and was thinking about the fact that I need a new day planner, as mine is a school year model and ends at the end of June.  Because my office is in the building of the small non-profit our district collaborates with to run the program I coordinate, I have to make a special 20 minute trip to visit the district building itself, for meetings, supplies or anything else I might need.  I was very responsibly thinking about when and how to schedule that trip in order to procure a new day planner, so I could continue to plan and schedule work-related events without missing a beat as we move into June and then July.

And without warning, my mind meandered.  It took a quick detour from Responsibilityville, and swung suddenly left, down Memory Lane.  I remembered my very first major road trip, back in '97, and how I used a day planner as a diary.  I was too busy to keep a diary, what with all the traveling, and sight-seeing, and pitching of tents, and finally buying beer once I turned 21, waking that birthday morning beside an old stone bridge in Oklahoma and bedding down in a lakeside campground in Kansas.  So I used a little tiny day planner as a diary, recording only the name of each campground, friend or relative's house, hostel, hotel or motel where I found myself sleeping, and the name of the city or town, and the state where it was located.  I still have that day planner somewhere, probably in a box in my attic, where an embarrassing number of our belongings remain, so close to two years after we bought the place!

And then, since my mind was already coasting down Memory Lane, in no apparent hurry to return to Long List of Things To Do Boulevard, it pulled over and rested in Wisconsin.  In 2005, the hubby and I spent our summer on the road, and one of our first stops was a campground in Wisconsin.  It's funny that I should recall it so fondly, because now that I am thinking more critically, it occurs to me that the evening ended in the tent with my husband telling me to: bend and spread 'em, and while this might sound romantic to some of you pervs out there, when I explain that it followed a tick sighting that required full body examination to be sure we weren't sharing more bodily orifices with the ticks than we share with one another, you will surely understand that romance had exited the premises at this particular point.  In order to make room for the ticks, I suppose.

But I digress (and aren't you glad about that?).  Prior to the potential tick infestation (and the full body examination did prevent the terrible possibility of discovering a tick burrowed into one's nether regions in the early morning, I will give my husband that.  Growing up in the South, he learned to take such dangers very seriously.), we had a lovely evening.  We found a campground, pitched the tent, cooked our dinner over an open fire, and had time to take the dog for a walk in the woods before the sun set.  We walked through the trees, scrambled up rocks to enjoy the view from an overpass, and watched fireflies dance in the shadows of the forest as daylight began to dim.

Remembering this trip I was seized by a wave of longing, positively filled with a voracious hunger for travel.  I envisioned camping with my husband and our boy, racing through the woods chasing fireflies and k-yiming rocks, as my son likes to say.  I could hear the car wheels beginning to turn, and see the dust in the rearview mirror as we peeled out of this old town and hit the road, morning sun blazing overhead, my hands drawing lazy circles in the air outside the window as we picked up speed, our toddler content in his carseat to look out the window at the passing scenery.

There was no whining in this fantasy.  And needless to say, no ticks. 

Alas, this morning's trip ended in my office, where I organized the three month old pile of paperwork that has been vying for my attention, and losing out to more immediate concerns, for some time now.  It wasn't quite rock and roll and the open road, but it did offer its own brand of satisfaction.  I suppose I can be a grown-up when it suits me.

I don't think my not-quite two year old is ready for the adventure I envisioned.  Nor is my bank account, or my summer calendar, which is already scheduled full of work days and family trips.  My body probably wouldn't enjoy long hours in the seat of a car either, especially as the weather gets hotter, and I get bigger and rounder in the belly.

But someday, Road Tripp, someday, I swear, the stars will align for us again.  After all, my husband will have to teach our children that time honored Southern tradition of bend and spread 'em tick infestation avoidance at some point, right?  And I'll be damned if I don't get a road trip out of the deal.

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