Friday, January 17, 2014

Adventures of the mind

I am sitting at my desk staring at my grey cube walls watching as the minutes slowly slip away. It is a Friday so the time seems to move at the pace of maple syrup straight out of the fridge on a cold day. It is a payday as well so there is the mixed feeling of satisfaction and disappointment that always comes with this day. All my bills are paid which is incredibly satisfying but the money left over when all is said and done makes me sort of want to cry.

I have let the gloom of office life and the cold grey light of winter get to me. I can feel the cold in by bones and the grey in my soul. There is an intense longing for sunshine and creativity. I need it. It is a fuel that I feel can rekindle me and see me through to better days.

I close my eyes and lose myself for a moment in the hum of florescent lights and the soft clacking of keyboards. I let myself drift away from the stale office air and cramped space between my cube walls. My obnoxious coworkers slip away into nothingness as my mind frees itself.

I am happily looking at a clock that reads 5:00. I am free of my obligations to the man for two blissful days. My feet don't even touch the ground between my desk chair and my car. There is a happy tune on the radio that I can't help but sing along to. I sit at a stop light dancing in my seat not really caring what the other drivers think of me.

I am greeted at the door by the cats. All three of them come up to me as though I had abandoned them for months instead of 9 hours. I take the time to love each of them in turn, but I suddenly don't have the time for distractions.

I fly around the house quickly. I grab a bag from the laundry room quickly shoving some clothes inside. I run and pack the travel toiletry bag and toss it in with the clothes. There are phone chargers, and tablets, and books that get shoved in another bag. It takes me less than five minutes.

The husbeast looks confused when I meat him at the door with a change of clothes in hand. He doesn't understand what is going on. I am not spontaneous usually so he doesn't know what to do when I insist we are leaving but can't tell him where we are going.  Adventure is the only word on my lips.

There is a note scribbled out on the pad in the kitchen; 'Running away. Be back Sunday night.'. The roomate will understand. She will have to.

I plug in my iPod once we are in the car selecting the perfect traveling music. I pull up a map on my phone and randomly jab my finger at a spot that looks like it is a reasonable driving distance away and we go. We barely even notice the traffic as head out of town.

It is late when we pull into the parking lot of a little hotel hours away from home. There are trees. Tall tall trees. We went east. The air is cold but smells so very clean. I can see stars above us the way you can only do when you have left the city behind.

We sleep entirely too late in the morning but neither of us seem to care. We lay in bed giggling and talking until our stomachs demand that we pay them homage. They don't really care that we have no plans for the day. Some things can not be ignored, unlike our phones which we are refusing to check.

The desk clerk suggests a local cafe just down the road for breakfast. The food is greasy and the coffee is strong. The waitress smiles and calls us by names like 'Sugar' and 'Darling', the way southern waitresses do. The counter is full of locals in jeans reading the paper over their runny eggs.

The waitress suggests some local antique shops and hiking trails around the area, things that locals like to do on their weekends as opposed to what the tourists like to do. Nothing too fancy, but nice and relaxing. It is just our speed.

We get lost twice going to the antique shop she suggested but once we get there we get lost for hours inside. It is the type of place that is selling things that they don't know are treasures. There are bargains to be had here. We walk out into the afternoon sun with a couple of small bags under our arms.

There is a gas station near the hiking trails in the National Park. We load up on water and snacks before heading out. The day has warmed significantly and we end up leaving our jackets in the car as we head off into the woods.

The trees are so tall. There are places where the sun has difficulty making it to us, but we don't notice the cold as we keep moving. I take my time snapping pictures of nothing while we go. Both of us are laughing and chatting about nothing at all.

The sun has started to set and the chill has finally set in as we climb back into the car. Our legs ache from the effort of the day. It is a good satisfying ache. There is no doubt that we will sleep well tonight.

We end up sitting at a local bar for dinner. It is pretty packed with locals and there is a band on a tiny stage doing a pretty decent job. It is loud and a little too warm but the burgers are good and the atmosphere is fun.  We listen to music for a while and even play a game of pool on one of the unoccupied tables. I am reminded of how bad I am at this game, but don't really care.

Back at the hotel we settle in with our books. I only make it about a chapter in before I am starting to doze off. I set my book aside and kiss the husbeast goodnight. I am right about being able to sleep the night through.

We head out the next day a little before noon. We grab some breakfast at the same diner from the day before. The waitress makes a point to ask us how our antiquing went and we happily share what we found. She smiles at us in an earnest sort of way.

The road home is long and so very different in the daylight. We point to things we had missed while driving in the dark. Small towns that had been nothing but ghosts in the night are now alive and real. It is like a completely different journey. We even take the time to stop in one that looks like it might have some interesting little shops in it.

There is a small restaurant in the town that we stop at for a late lunch after some leisurely browsing at a local kitschy crafty shopping center. I was more amused by it than the husbeast was, but he found a few things to keep his interest. The food is nothing to write home about, but it is warm and filling and a damn sight better than a fast food burger.

The roommate and the animals are all incredibly excited to see us when we come in the door Sunday evening. We give scattered details of our adventure to the roommate while we alternate petting the cats and the dog. Reality is setting back in but it was a nice escape.

A phone begins to ring in the cube next to mine causing me to come out of my revery. I blink my eyes open into the bright lights of my office. All the sounds of office life seem to rush back in on me trying to drown me in the drone of monotony.

The clock reads a little after 12. Five hours left to go. A weekend full of work and errands and obligations ahead of me. There are flat tires to be fixed, classes to be taught, parties to attend, and work to be gone to.

My fantasy was just that. Still I can almost smell the fresh air filtering between the tall tall trees and I can't help but smile.

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