Thursday, April 23, 2009

on being an actual person... escape from seattle!

It's amazing what three days on your own will do for a person...

On Sunday at 4:30 am, I left my dark house, 40 degree weather, and climbed into a taxi for Palm Springs to meet up with some girlfriends and enjoy some sun and relaxation. Under normal circumstances, there are very few activities that would warrant a 4am wake-up call. However, with two nights and three days of pure freedom, I wanted to make the most of my vacation and booked the first flight out. I'm not sure I've ever been so alert that early in my life.

At airport security, where I was sent back and forth through the screening multiple times until my very thorough security officer finally dug through my suitcase and while commenting on how many cosmetics I'd brought on my carry-on luggage, he looks at me and says sarcastically, "Have you even been on an airplane since 9/11?"

But even though he asks another security guard to keep an eye on me while he tests my 3+oz. bottle of saline solution (I know those dark bags under my eyes and maybe my very large stature makes me seem like a serious threat at 5:30 in the morning), I knew that heat and sun were just ahead.

And seriously, when I got off that plane and was hit with a burst of fresh heat and sun, I unwittingly let out a huge sigh of relief and before I could even be embarrassed, the two guys behind me did the very same thing. Yes, folks... This was some serious Vitamin D.

The house was right on the PGA West golf course and I met my four friends there where we pretty much spent the next three days slathered with sunscreen while laying out in the sun, talking, swimming, reading totally trashy magazines (Wow, Valerie Bertinelli is really looking great these days!), and drinking cocktails. Oh, and there was also way too much ABBA, Beyonce, and Black Eyed Peas going on, as well. And some dancing. And did I mention the cocktails? Oh, and did I also mention that it was 60 degrees warmer there? Though I think every single one of those degrees was necessary to dry up my cold and moldy Seattle insides.

We went shopping at 5pm and ate dinner at 10pm and our only concern was finding a place that was open (which was actually surprisingly difficult).

But besides drying out in the heat and hanging out with good friends, it was amazing to just get away from my life and to look at it from the outside for a few days. On the way down I started reading Mary Gaitskill's new book of short stories, Don't Cry. She's a writer I truly loved in graduate school, mostly for her raw honesty. And I don't think I've read her short stories since.

Before I left Samuel said to me, "How come you have to go so far away to be with your friends? Why can't you just have lunch or dinner with them and then come home?" And so I spent a few hours of guilt over this thinking, why am I so anxious to get so far away?

But there was something about being alone on a plane and reading her new stories that made me realize once again how easy it is to get so sucked into your own life that you forget what your core is really made of. And I was able to go back to my old self--pre family and job and mortgage--and get lost in thinking about stories I might write or concepts that were only just interesting to think about but had no purpose in my life other than just being what they were.

And then I realized, once I had a few hours to myself, that I needed pretty much at least twelve hours completely free of scheduling and planning and worrying about kids, family and responsibilities to actually feel relaxed and myself again. It's good to miss your life a little and to be able to come home refreshed and happy and excited about taking on new projects.

Congratulations to Ellen, winner of the BabyLegs raffle! And I used a very um, random, random number generator from the appropriately URLed, so it's all kosher and honest pickings and stuff.


Mari said...

Hey, I would of liked to be in those pictures! Love you!

Ell said...

sounds SO refreshing. I need one of those trips before baby #2 arrives. And yay! I won. Thanks so much!