There’s an old proverb that says “The longest journey begins with a single step.” Yeah, well, maybe in Proverblandia or someplace. Usually with me a journey begins with lists, hysteria, more lists, crises, catastrophes, more lists, nervous stomach, outbreaks of diseases ranging from scabies to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, more lists, complications, leaky toilets, urgent edits, late trains, and the dreaded Holiday Airport Syndrome. All of which I have experienced over the course of the last month. Okay, not the scabies or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and I still have the Holiday Airport Syndrome to look forward to. But the rest of it.
I’m a bad traveler. I always say “I hate to travel, but I love having traveled.” See, I’m a bit of a control freak. When I drive someplace, I calculate the time I will arrive and usually am correct, plus or minus ten minutes. You notice I mentioned “lists” in the above litany? Yeah. I’m that person. I have a spreadsheet of what I’m bringing. And I have a spreadsheet of where it’s going in the luggage. And a spreadsheet of what luggage.
In my carryon, I have everything I could possibly need if my checked luggage gets lost or delayed. Or that I could possibly need if the plane crash-landed on a deserted island. I’m the person Sawyer from Lost would rob for stuff. I’m obsessive about being sure nothing is outside the TSA limits, but everything that falls in that category is in my backpack. Which I can barely lift. I’m pretty sure I have two of some things.
I have a calendar in my backpack with the dates, times, and locations of all the activities we are going to be engaged in. Along with the confirmations of same, showing the same information. Along with duplicate copies of etickets, boarding passes, and hotel confirmations. Of course, I have copies of my passport. I also have copies of all of the above in a Dropbox file for retrieval in emergencies.
I am leaving the office in 32 minutes, headed down to the Palmer House across the street, where I have reservations on an airport shuttle which will whisk me to O’Hare. Given that tomorrow’s a holiday, the whisking will probably be more like a stop/start/stop/start traffic jam, but my flight’s not ’til 9:45. I may need all that time.
Poor Marie Sexton has probably already arrived at O’Hare and is sitting somewhere reading while she waits for me to slog thru TSA.
Maybe I’ll be wrong. Maybe everything will go smoothly, and having my toilet spring a leak at 11:30 last night and having electric lines go down across the tracks and making me a half hour late for work this morning are my problems for today. My optimist self says “could be!”
The control freak is congratulating herself on booking a flight four-and-a-half hours out.