Cafe Hitch-hike


Before the big trip

I'm a tad bit delirious. I just had 3 espressos and did a massive update of apps, music files, and eBooks. This is for the road. I needed to make sure I could read the books offline because I don't know if my plane will have WiFi (I won't be surprised if it doesn't), and then I had to change some settings on my mobile so I can make best use of the battery as possible (and all these other annoying background apps don't drain the piss out of it).

My itinerary is all set. I shared it, with my whereabouts, with my 3 best people in case anything happens and also shared my boss's number with them so they call can be in touch with each other. Gee, I even added information about my travel insurance (hahahah) and other important info. just in case.

Dog sitter is set. House stuff is set. The plants will be in the tub with water (a trick a gardener showed me for travel so they wouldn't die when I leave). I have 2 frozen meals in the freezer so I can just warm those up when I return, am jet lagged, and feel like hibernating (which is customary on trips like these).

There's been an lot of stories of people traveling and bad things happening. At least I'm not going to the Dominican Republic, but things are getting interesting on the international front. I didn't write my final will and testament (hahah), but it will be very easy to divvy my stuff. Mom gets the stuff, but she'll just have to get it moved. She'll like it all, I'm sure. I think she can fit in most of my clothes, and we have the same shoe size. My insurances have beneficiaries (hahah), the car is paid off (heh), and I reckon the house can go back to the bank since my mom doesn't qualify to live in this development although it would be just right for her. My ashes can be buried with Uncle Joe and Grandpa Rey. No one will have to pay back my school loans because I was lucky enough to get them through the government. That's about it. Marley can either go to my Mom, Princ, or Jimbob. Ok, I'm done being morbid.

On the flip side, I looked over my stuff from my senior year of high school. I thought I didn't have friends at that time. I did, and I don't know why I felt that way. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm not too different in significant ways then as I am now. I forgot about all of that until I looked through my senior scrap book. I was just as inquisitive, clever, and active back then as I kind of am now. I also looked through the brochures from service/ recognition ceremonies. I forgot that I earned a lot of commendations when I was at Central High: varsity letters for athletics and honor roll, one of my art projects was featured in an all-city art show, and I got an additional athlete-scholar certificate for my participation and GPA. Not everyone in our class of 150 got them (note: freshmen classes in my town usually started with 900 or so students, and ended up with anywhere between 150 to 600 graduating in 4 years; says a lot about both American public high schools and the lives of its students. Not all dropped out by got moved around or graduated through alternative schools). Not too shabby at all. I forgot because I downplayed them.

I guess I was embarrassed. Everything felt awkward. Well, everything was. Nevermind facing college and impending quasi-adulthood. My birth father was dying and in prison, and my family was still experiencing aftershocks of my mother's divorce. We lived in a rough area, but it had heart. I was dating my friend's brother who was older than me, and I was negotiating being a somewhat Good Catholic Girl with feelings that were harder to contain. I grew up and out in more way than one. I had a traffic jam of things happening and who the hell could handle all of that with complete grace and composure?

Then add: my birth father died and I met his family and half-sisters. Once Jens and I attained 'just friends' status, I started messing around with a creep who worked at a video store near me (and the creep was fiiiiiiine). I started getting noticed by guys a whole lot more than what I was used to. A small bit of money came my way. I also started to learn about the story of my father's family and how much I really did inherit in terms of dispositions. I then made a lot of new friends, many of them being the exchange students and I still am in touch with all of them except 1. A couple of those friends turned into friends of my siblings. Let's just say 1990 was a highly eventful year, to say the least. I didn't realize it was such a huge turning point for so much in my life.

I look at where I am. I really shouldn't feel embarrassed too badly about that time, considering where it all took me. Not too shabby in the least! Not at all, at least at this time. Everyone does dumb, childish, or embarrassing things when they're young and trying to figure it out.

So, I looked at that scrap book. I remember writing in Jens's yearbook, "I wished I met you later." I said that because... if we met later, then maybe we could had really seen where things would had gone. His presence really was that special. Well, my wish kind of is coming true. I should be seeing him later.

Yeah, yeah. I have my career, house, car, and life over here and so does he in his town. I can entertain romantic thoughts of someone moving somewhere, but I know how that usually goes (usually not too well because all of that is extremely stressful). Oh, yeah, and it's been 27 years since we've seen each other. I'm highly sure we've both experienced a whole lot more than teenage puppy-love since then and probably won't get bit by that, although we'll probably savor the recollection in our respective ways.

I have to laugh about how my friends are taking my trip:

**The tokers or those who enjoyed it in the past are laughing that I'll open my own hash bar in Amsterdam and won't come back.

**My co-workers are joking I'll go AWOL because I either open a cannabis cafe or get a job with Elsevier (the robber barons of scholarly publishing and information who are based in the Netherlands).

**The art lovers want me to tell them all about the museums.

**Some guys on my executive cabinet/ panel of male advisors want to know if I score.

**The romantics can't wait to hear about how things go with Jens.

downwind | upstream