...and repeat. Again. And again.
I returned from my Europe/NY adventure early Sunday evening and have spent the past few days just sort of hanging in mid-air, trying to make the adjustment to the realities of the day-to-day world. Vacations, for me, have never been about—or involved—relaxing. They are merely an extension of doing something every minute, and cramming as much into every day as I possibly can. One. Two. Three. Four.
It was, as I said in my daily blogs/journal, a wonderful trip. The weather was unbearably hot when I arrived in Budapest—after 40 hours of no sleep and not being able to get into my cabin for three hours, I decided to walk around the city. Not a wise decision. The combination of no sleep and the sapping heat made me sincerely concerned that I'd not be able to get back to the ship. I'm sure anyone who saw me (and the streets were all but deserted) had to assume I was drunk. I could not walk a straight line. But I did make it back, climbed to the second level of the ship, and promptly tripped over a gnat's eyebrow, falling to my knees. Well, I always did know how to make an entrance.
The weather remained extremely hot until we reached our next-to-last stop, Kinderdijk, a World Heritage site for it windmills, at which point it turned cool and began to rain. It rained on and off (mostly on) throughout my three days in Amsterdam, at one point promising a sunny day only until I went off without my umbrella and then soaking me to the skin. Upon arriving in New York, I was greeted by an old fashioned gulley-washer which took me 3 hours to get from JFK Airport to the hotel.
But the weather was a distant second to the pleasures of the trip...to all the very nice people I met and the beautiful places I was able to see, and the memories I brought back (as many as possible captured on digital camera and posted on my www.doriengreyandme.com website).
And now it is all in the past. But since I spend so much of my time there anyway, all I have to do is look at the photos and open my mind, and I'm there again.
I was painfully reminded yet again—as if I needed a reminder—of the frighteningly widening gap between what my mind wants me to and assumes naturally that I can do and what my body is able to do. My heart and soul truly grieve for who I was not all that very long ago. I, who have always sworn with every fiber of my being that I would never grow old find that I—at least my body—am doing just that.
But all that self pity will not stand in the way of my making plans for my next adventure...a “memorial/back-in-time” cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean to revisit more of the places I first saw in 1956. I am determined to do with the money Norm left me what Norm never did for himself: really enjoy it.
I do hope, when I go, that you will come with me.
And meanwhile, I am back in Chicago and awaiting the release of Dante's Circle, my next book, the cover of which I just saw and posted to various sites. And preparing to go to lunch with my best friend Gary. I want to stop at the local movie theater complex to pick up a soft pretzel from the concession stand. I had my first soft pretzel aboard the Viking Prestige during their “A Taste of Bavaria” event and fell in love with them, and...
Life goes on. One. Two. Three. Four.