London Calling: 6weeks in Europe
"What the hell was I thinking?" I whisper under his chin. His chest rumbles with a deep laugh.
"It'll be okay." His raspy morning voice clears my apprehension.
The morning marches on. The bags are packed, the car is loaded. The puppy thinks he gets to go. So many road trips start the same way. Bags, frantic organization, up and down the stairs, bags, jackets, "did you remember...? "Where the hell are my...?" All this preparation seems like a routine to the dog. All this cacophony tells the canine it's travel time, time to go to the human called 'grammy'. Sorry, not this time pups, this is a long trip, you're staying here.
I live remote, in the high country of the San Jauns. I must cross Colorado and spend a night with my mom in Boulder, ever nearer to DIA. Six hours of high altitude driving. I have plenty of time to think, to reflect, to laundry-list my packing list in my brain. Rain jacket, check, underwear, check, curling iron, check, plug adapter, check, camera...well, cell phone anyway, umbrella, check, need to pick up sunglasses, or should I just buy at duty-free, no Target will be cheaper....Thank God for the Internet, it's the only way I can take six weeks off work; well, work remotely anyhow. Hmm...God. Did he really create the Internet? I know there is a God but is Jesus real? I know I believe in a higher power but Jesus? Perhaps he was a human who transcended? But can't we all become enlightened? Aren't we all children of God? I am amazed at those who have faith. How in the world can parents with cancer-kids have faith? How can they not?
These are the thoughts of the lone-driver, with three kids, noses in books, headphones in ears, as she transports her family to the front range, to an international airport. My thoughts are my own. When did they stop following me to the potty, chattering nonesense, and sleeping in car seats? Now I have a sophomore in high school and two middle schoolers. This adventure will make them even greater, even stronger, and even more compassionate; they will be real people in a fucked-up world.
So I drive, not just a metal beast across 312 miles, but my meat-suit through my existence. It is all so surreal; this spirit I house on this terrestrial plane. Why go and see other things on this planet? What purpose does it serve? When I die, my memories go with me, my experiences exist no more. Why spend $1000s of dollars to simply see things? My traveling just leaves a bigger environmental footprint on the future for my kids. At some point, we, the humans on this planet, will poison ourselves to the point of mass extinction. Will this happen within my children's lifetime? Will we humans rise to the occasion? Correct our abuses to the life-sustaining system of Mother Earth? She will still be here long after we are all gone. I fear we are past the point of no return. The four horseman are nigh on our heels.
But, oh the joy! The visceral sensation of life maketh the soul. The absorption of experiences feed the spirit like sunlight grows the grass. Without the observance of this planetary realm what would we carry into the next spiritual realm; be it heaven, or reincarnation, or the 5th dimension? For I understand that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred or transformed. Similarly, I have faith that my connective neural firings do not cease to exist in the spiritual plane. Every sentient being is a miracle. I know, I have studied the complexities of the human body, down to the molecular level. There is a greater power than science behind the green curtain. The Holy Spirit is not a Grand Puppeteer but in the beginning there was Light.
The absolute worst time to hit Boulder, CO by vehicle is Friday at 4pm. Friday rush hour is always an hour earlier in this overpopulated, uber-pretentious town. This town has PhD candidates baristing your almond-half-cafe-skinny-nonGMO-certified-Puerto-Rican-blended-macchiato. And every single one of these smart people seem to have switched-off and are on the road driving like selfish, 10 year-old boys on a bumper-car ride.
|4 o'clock rush hour|
Before arriving to my mom's house, we stop for dinner. A last meal of sorts, Larkburger. Responsibly raised, grass-fed beef, compostable dishware and truffle aioli fries. (Of course it is a successful restaurant in Boulder -- the breeding pit for hipsters.) Anyways, it's worth the praise, this kind of meat cannot be found in Europe.
Nonetheless, I believe I now have a sign on my forehead, a flashing SOS call for wifi hotspots. My household has three kids with cellphones and I have learned that data is prescious; a magical, golden ring engraved with ancient script. Serendipitously, without inquiry by me, the cashier staff volunteered that wifi is free and they also provide a secure connection platform. Meaning, despite the millennial brain-trust seated at every table around me, the chances of them hacking my FB page is only 10%. My vigilance for free wifi is on hyperalert. Well aware that, while the internet is a luxury, it's also a crutch and once we hit Europe, wifi is a necessary evil. Once we arrive, we will no longer be able to enjoy our "unlimited" business data-plan. This unsolicited information is timely and apropos. I pointed it out to my Gen-Why kids (yes, Why not Y, as in Why did the 20th century fuck up this planet?). "So see, we can freely log-on to their wifi."
"Yes mom," My iGen kids' roll their collective eyes to the backs of their heads, "we know how it works." And so, life moves on. I travel. They travel. We learn and maybe we can be the change...
After, at home, my mom's home, I link into wifi again. This time to electronically check-in to our flight. I time it perfectly. I hover over the check-in button, ready to score the perfect seats. Click, XRT9IP, Wood...[check-in unavailable]...WTF? again, again. [check-in unavailable]...I try my mom's computer: [check-in unavailable]. I call British Airways.
"Yes, sorry ma'am, I understand your frustration..." The customer service rep on the other end is trying hard to mask his Indian accent, "I am sorry for the delay, you have the wrong confirmation number." I now keep him on the line and enter the "right" confirmation number: [check-in unavailable].
"I am sorry ma'am, I understand your frustration" Blah, blah, lip-service, blah, blah"..."I'm sorry ma'am you will need to go to a ticketing office."
"Wait, what? This means I can't check-in until I go to the airport. Why can't you do it over the phone? I am a mom, traveling alone with 3 minors. We have to sit together. I did what I was supposed to do; otherwise, I would have had to spend $59 dollars per person for reserved seats in advance! You cannot do this..." But yet, they can. The airlines survive through fees, through the sick manipulation of internet control. No, God did not create the Internet, he gave man free will.
"I'm sorry ma'am..."
I'm sorry ma'am, I'm sorry ma'am
And so my epic adventure begins and tomorrow, some poor ticketing agent is going to have a very bad day.