4:45 a.m. and no alarm goes off, no slow illumination of the alarm clock from pre-dawn glow to midday harsh brightness. No movement at the end of the bed where Toby is still curled up, lost in whatever cats dream about. But there I am. Awake. Ready to tackle the day! Time to get up, go run and get the day started! I have two major public engagement projects starting this week! The need to inform and educate the public on environmental and education reform policies is vital before the legislative session starts in January (and why I’ve upended my life in the pursuit of public engagement and service), there’s no time to waste! I’ll need to make some coffee, sit down at my desk and get crackin’!
4:46 a.m. and then it hits me. There are no projects, at least not until June. The world has stopped, for all intents and purposes, before 2020 really had a chance to get going. Primaries. Elections. Going to Pour Haus to rehash the day’s news with Hilmar. Enjoying a French 75. Conversations. People watching. Meeting at Jaimie’s and heading to the river with an ice chest. It’s all on hold.
So I go back to sleep, dreaming of the things I’d normally be doing, wishing I was doing, dying to go do.
10:38 a.m. time to go. I’ve made the decision. Today will not be like the last 25! But first, I must prepare! While I wasn’t a Boy Scout (save for attending I think two meetings when I was 6 or 7) I never start anything unprepared. So, what do I need?
First, make sure I feed Toby. He has been enjoying a mix of dry food and his prescribed wet food. He had some liver and kidney issues (one was removed) and I have to keep him on a better than balanced diet. But he’s doing great now and is back to playing and attacking me in equal measure (when he isn’t curled up asleep on my lap, plotting strategy for his next midnight raid on my well entrenched and defended feet hiding under the comforter). With a careful mix of kibbles and what is described on the can as tuna in a cream sauce with vegetables (he’s eating better than I am!) and a full water bowl, I know he’ll be just fine until my return.
Now, for me. This will be a simple journey, no camping or hiking gear required. So no need to dig in the closet for those items. But I still need to be prepared! So, first things first; let’s check the weather. Sunny, 86 degrees with a heat index making it feel closer to 95. No rain until this evening around 6-7, some clouds are already building on the radar out to the west of San Antonio. They’ll be here but shouldn’t be a threat to my afternoon jaunt.
Knowing the weather, time to dress accordingly. I put on a pair of shorts, nothing fancy, just some cool material in a dark blue hue and a white tshirt. This is going to be a restful and relaxing destination. Footwear? Nah. Not needed, no uneven ground or rocks to avoid. Barefoot. The way God intended. Glasses. Hmm. The sun is out, alas I have no dedicated prescription sunglasses (a new pair of prescription Ray-Ban Wayfarers are on my to-do list) so my old pair of glasses with transition lenses will have to do. To top off the ensamble, a ball cap. This one is black with an AOPA logo for their anniversary. No, I am not a pilot. My friend Hilmar is. He gave me this hat. I think to test my mettle and see how many piloting conversations I could get myself into and out of, without the person realizing that I’ve never flown anything bigger than a model A-4 paper airplane.
11:43 a.m. I’m all set! Time to decide what I will need to take with me. My notebook of course, writing is a place of solace for me. The ultimate form of expressing thoughts and ideas before they are ready for public consumption. Done. What else? Music. This is key and always required packing for a trip. So, in goes the small but deceptively loud Bluetooth speaker. My phone of course, that’s where the music will come from. Not to mention if I get into trouble and need rescuing, it will be nice to have a way to reach those services.
11:45 a.m. The journey begins. With Toby settled on the couch and oblivious to the world around him, not to mention the actions of the big hairless ape that he tolerates occupying his personal space, it is time for me to depart.
Refreshment! I’d almost forgotten the most critical element of a well planned trip: hydration. I make my way to the kitchen, shuffling the speaker into one hand and my phone into my left pocket. I rummage around for my Yeti tumbler and fill it with ice. This will last me until my return. Filler? A particular choice is required. Something light, but also able to kick-start the creative processes. I have just the thing! Macallan 12, a neat single malt scotch perfect for the weekday adventurer.
11:57 a.m. The Journey Begins, part 2: for real this time. With everything in hand and ready to go. I walk, barefooted and a little chilled by the just recently closed freezer and air conditioning, I make my way across the usually perilous living room, much quieter now thanks to the small sleeping tiger on the couch, toward my final destination. Without hesitation. Without reflection. Without concern for what is to come. I know I’m making the right choice. The decision to save my sanity. To clear my head.
I reach out.
And open the door to my porch.