Lists. I make lists when I am anxious. And, since anxiety makes me forgetful, the lists also help me not leave half my crap at home. My DC trip is going to go like this: nine hours on the train, three and a half days at my friends’ place in DC, three days at my friend’s place in Baltimore, nine hours on the train back. While I’m away, my landlady will be staying in my room since her daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids will be visiting. I’m both sorry to miss them and not at all sorry to miss the chaos that I’m sure will ensue in the house.
9:16:17 me: I will be on a train most of the day
9:16:19 me: I bought snacks
9:16:22 me: and I have four books
9:16:26 my friend: what
9:16:28 my friend: and what snacks
9:16:29 my friend: I like snacks
9:16:34 me: the books are, lemme see….
9:16:44 me: five books
9:16:51 me: The Drowned and The Saved, Primo Levi
9:17:06 me: this weird kitschy book called What’s The Difference
9:17:21 me: like what’s the difference between bee and hornet and wasp
9:17:27 me: for hipsters sort of, amusing, light reading
9:17:31 my friend: that’s cool
9:17:31 me: Blindness
9:17:38 me: Jose Saramago
9:17:42 me: PK Dick
9:17:47 me: Galactic Pot Healer
9:17:56 me: Holly Bishop
9:18:00 me: “robbing the bees”
9:18:03 me: about honey
9:18:16 me: for snacks
9:18:18 me: string cheese
9:18:22 me: cheese and crackers
9:18:24 me: fresca
9:18:28 me: peanuts
9:18:29 me: apple
9:18:31 me: bananachips
9:18:34 me: I’m not sure what else
9:18:47 my friend: i love you so much. [she's a book editor, good reading appeals to her. she also likes good snacks]
9:18:51 me: :)
9:18:53 me: thanks
9:18:55 my friend: sure.
9:19:05 me: and pint of syrup for my hosts
9:19:07 my friend: frersca is great
9:19:09 me: and the other host
9:19:11 my friend: except it’s called fresca
9:19:15 me: I brough some peppers from my pepper plant
9:19:19 my friend: ooh
9:19:21 me: because he’s a no sweets sort of guy
The list that I didn’t make was the list of magazines I’m also taking. Magazines are great because you can read them even if the train is noisy, and you can leave them behind when you’re done. They’re like junk food for me, but without the “I maybe shouldn’t be doing this” guilt. Magazines for this trip: Vanity Fair and Us (found on the train, where I am writing this from), Searcher and Weatherwise and Plenty (leftover ALA schwag), an article copied from The American Archivist (thanks Jay!), Fast Company (found at school), and Sun Magazine (2) and the New Yorker (2, had been a gift from me for the ex who apparently hasn’t updated his address).
The thing I forget to put on the list when I travel in the Summer is this: air conditioning is COLD, bring socks. Since I live someplace with no AC and work in places with only some AC, the supercooled environment of many public spaces in the Summer always comes as a surprise to me. The train, for example, is freezing. I packed a sweater but no socks.
It’s 8:30 in the morning. I’ve been up since 5. I’ll get to DC at 4:30. The Hudson River Valley, which is what I see out my window on most of this trip — everyone who has taken the trip before sits on the right side of the train to see the river — is in prime form in August.