Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Off to Oman

Click here, then read.

I flew out of bed this morning not because I was late or because my alarm clock was blaring, or the house was on fire or I had a plane to catch. Rather, I was so nerve-wracked at getting everything done today—the day before my departure to the Middle East—that I had to review my to-do list asap. I had to start checking that list off, starting with an early morning paint job on the front of my house. There I was at 6 a.m. sharp, slapping another coat of Clay Ridge or Plum Raisin or God knows what shade of brown up on the eaves. At 6:10 a.m. I gave up on ever finding the first color I had started with so many weeks ago; I cleaned up the mess and went to e-mail my painter: “I regret to inform you that the paint job will have to wait until I have sufficiently recovered from my first overseas trip…perhaps sometime in June…”

Then it was off to the bank. I had no time to waste on hair-combing or clothes-matching; I just grabbed my list and got in the car, lucky to raise the garage door without backing out. I’m sure that officials at my credit union are still going over the tapes of me striding quickly inside, glancing around, and buzzing up to the first open teller with my purse open, then pivoting and beelining out with green bills clutched in both hands.

Then there was a little trouble with Walgreen’s. I passed one on my way to the bookstore, but—knowing that there was another Walgreen’s right next to the bookstore—I drove by Walgreen’s Number One. When I reached Walgreen’s Number Two, they had everything but what I needed the most: moist towelettes. I could hardly believe that nonsense, and—when informed—promptly fell to floor in a fit of tears. The saleslady helped me up and I said like a two-year-old, “Well, does that mean that EVERY Walgreen’s is out of moist towelettes?” She assured me not, but that meant one more stop.

I jumped back in my car, screeched fifty feet to the bookstore, and ran in. I know what I like in general (memoir, food and health writing, travel literature, very good fiction, contemporary and classic literature, hardbound and paperback, new and used, large print and small print, pretty jacket covers, history, a little transgendered), but it’s the specifics that always get me. Burning about 2000 calories running from one section to the next, I finally got three books, one of which I already know I’ll have to return. Impulse buy.

After driving the speed limit all the way over to the Walgreen’s closest to my house—who needs a ticket on a day like this?—I went in and started shouting about moist towelettes the second I got through the automatic sliding doors. Did they have them!? Where were they!? Where specifically!? Any other kind!? I hustled whoever was helping me up to the nearest cash register and paid with cash. Thank you thank you thank you. There will never be enough thank for you, patient Walgreen’s person.

Finally, back at home, I hauled everything into the house and jumped in the shower. Gotta get ready for work. Under the water I inspected my pre-journey body: cuts and scratches from trying to get the yard pruned in sixty seconds or less before the Middle East trip. Bruises on my hands and arms from one last maniacal workout before the Middle East trip. The sound of my eyebrow hair follicles screaming in my ear from the waxing they had suffered before the Middle East trip. I ran my hand over the scab forming along my eyelid, where the hair aesthetician had ripped my skin off. Gotta find a better place next time.

Who knows what horrors lurk when you wait until the last minute? Luckily I have 1063 of those left. Minutes, not horrors.


  1. I am so jealous! No, I'm happy for you. I would love to go to the Middle East. I'm sure I would be freaking out, too. Have a great time!!!

  2. Well, I'll be standing by to hear how your trip goes. I'm excited for you!

  3. How exciting, but how scary! I love that you are brave enough to go. I needed that inspiration! Have a great trip!

  4. Exciting, scary, and who goes to the Middle East?! :-) An adventure!

    Have fun and write when you get work! :-)


  5. Kate, this is cool. I thought you were kidding when you first mentioned this trip. Can't wait to hear all about it on the blog, I'm sure it will be quite entertaining. Safe travels.

  6. Enjoy your trip. I totally read you on the moist towelettes. Critical for travel.

  7. Kate does Oman. Can't wait to hear more.