A few years ago, I was riding on a tram in Germany when I spotted an old tavern out of the window. It was a time-worn traditional timber framed building that looked like it had been there forever. From appearances, I assumed it stood in that exact spot when the plates of the Earth bent and shifted forming the oceans, mountains and continents right around it. Like it had been open serving tall steins of beer to Yahweh, Eros, Brahma, Allah, the Kotoamatsukami clan and all the other creators during their seventh day break. Obviously, I had to go!
At the next stop I immediately hopped off the sleek modern electric trolley and stepped onto the centuries old city streets. I mentally tossed out my current lunch plans and doubled back to investigate the old pub. It was now or never; I was deep in the ‘savor’ stage of Dan travel mode that always kicks in when I know I am leaving a place soon having no clue when or if I might ever be back. When I am in the mood, I walk around hyper-sensitive to my surroundings trying to absorb every detail and subtle nuance of the place into my brain’s memory banks. I have never asked because sometimes it’s better not to know, but I assume my pathetic ennui expression at those times drives my wife nuts.
You know, even though I say stuff like that, I do crazy love my wife Dawn. And I like my job, house, friends, family, pets, neighborhood, life… the whole package I have is pretty good. I really should not whine and complain as I am so prone to do in these pages.
I have daily routines where I get up at the crack of dawn (my wife sleeps with her back to me) to make sure my elderly dog has not redecorated the floor overnight (sometimes I’m early enough), I feed all the animals (and try to stop the young ones from stealing the near-blind old pup’s food), sip some java, write this blog, head to work, come home, eat, sleep… and like it says on the shampoo bottle, ‘repeat’. It’s nice. It’s comfortable. It’s what I dreamed of having for so many years when I was a crazed traveling nomad working as a consultant.
But you always want what you don’t have. Sometimes in the middle of the day I look up from my little finished pile of work, on my little desk, in my little office, in my little building, in my little suburb, in my little City and think I’d rather be traveling the gigantic globe, having adventures, visiting family and friends, strolling on a beach, sipping wine with the beautiful people at a five star, chugging beers with buddies in a dive… but mostly I dream of having enough time to not think about time.
Way back twenty years ago when I was on the road, I traded the comforts of a normal life for giant chunks of time off. I also was insanely lonely, isolated, insecure and dreamed of living a normal traditional calm life like the one I have now. Oh, I sure as hell enjoyed all that free time off to be carefree and play, but like a kid with a 63’ Corvette, I think I was too young to handle it and truly appreciate it.
As has every human that has toiled and labored before me, I dream of my version of relaxing. For me that means being unburdened and carefree enough to be able to alter the day’s plans at a second’s notice. To be able to step away from the crowd of people rushing through their daily routines and just hop off that train to leisurely walk back to a groovis old pub than see where the day takes me. Over the years those dreams have evolved to include having my Wife beside me to share the experience, but that is not our world right now.
Our world is busy and full of stress. Every night we compare notes about how behind schedule we are at work and way over-booked at home. Loved ones are sick, the windows are dirty, the cat needs to go to the vet, the door we ordered in May is not yet installed, the sprinklers, the gutters, my tires, that crack in the ceiling, the dentist, I need to lose weight, is there another hurricane… The pressure weighs me down. As I rolled out of bed this morning at 4:48 to the jingling sound of an antsy pup, I already felt like I was desperately behind schedule.
Minutes turn to hours, hours to days, days to years… How is it almost November already? How did everyone around me get so old? How did I get so old!?!?!
The warm early afternoon sun had already melted away the sharp edges of the brisk March morning chill. I slid off my light jacket as I walked the few blocks back to the little German pub that time forgot. It was closed. My experience would have to wait for another time… but when? It always comes back to that old bastard time.