In a little under eight hours, I’ll board the first leg of a three-plane trip that will from Reno to Providence, Rhode Island for my brother’s wedding. The wedding isn’t in Providence, it’s on Martha’s Vineyard, which is an island off the southeastern coast of Massachusetts. This will put the total trip time at about 24 hours. Reno to San Francisco, then wait. San Francisco to Newark, then wait. Newark to Providence, then wait. Providence to the ferry, then wait. The ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, then cab to the first of two hotels I’ll be staying in this weekend.
Though not at the same time, because that would be expensive.
(Just kidding. Everything on Martha’s Vineyard is expensive.)
This trip will interrupt the World Cup (Hypothetical) Travelogues a bit, but expect them to resume next week.
When I travel, I like to board Darwin at the kennel and then just head straight to the airport so I don’t have to come home to an empty apartment, but this is a cross-country trip in which I’ve got an overnight flight. Given how much time I’m going to spend waiting around (90 minutes at the Reno and San Francisco airports, 60 minutes in Newark, two hours in Providence and at the ferry stop), I thought an overnight flight was the best call. I generally like overnight flights (they’re either less full of people in total, or less full of talkative people due to the hour), but given that it was also the cheapest ticket helped make that decision, too.
Darwin has been something of a nervous wreck the past few days. Whenever he sees luggage, he gets antsy, playing the “Ican’tbelieveyou’releavingmewhydon’tyoulovemeanymore” card, so I made a point this time around to not even look at the luggage before kenneling him.
It didn’t help.
I don’t know what triggered his anxiety this time around, though maybe it was the trip to the vet late last week. Unless he’s injured or sick, he likes being at the vet because of all the other animals and abundance of smells. More than anything, Darwin likes going to new places, or to be confronted by new animals. He’s a hound mix, so he gets to exercise all of his sniffing/hunting instincts when confronted by new areas and smells. Walking to the vet’s office and back got him all geeked up, but it was only Sunday or Monday of this week when he started hanging on my heels. Every time I got out of the chair or off the couch or out of bed, he would instantly appear. If I stood in place and turned in a circle, he would try to find a way to follow me.
At night, he typically heads to the bedroom after dinner to sleep in peace until it’s time for his next walk.
Not this week.
This week he sat on the couch to my right almost the entire day. I knew his anxiety was running high when I offered him a snack of his second favorite kind of Milk Bone biscuit Monday night and he wouldn’t eat it until I sat on the couch with him and gave it to him again.
I had to put his daily food bags together last night and this got him off the couch to sit next to me on the floor, watching with sleepy curiosity as I scooped dog food into Ziploc bags. Again, he was offered a dog biscuit and didn’t eat it right away. When I’d packed and sealed all the bags and put them into a larger bag, then put that bag on the counter … then he ate his snack.
Going to bed last night around 1 AM was a bit early, but getting up at 6:30 was definitely earlier than our summer routine dictates. Whenever I get up extra early, Darwin just peers at me from the couch and doesn’t bother to get off it until I come to him.
The moment I crossed his line of sight and entered the bathroom he was off the couch and standing at my side. I asked if he wanted to go for a walk and he started doing excited (if sleepy) circles before running to the edge of the kitchen, where I keep his leash. The walk itself was what we call the short loop around the complex, and as soon as we made the turn to head in that direction, he slowed down. Morning walks are his favorite, so if we take the short loop, he drags ass to extend every possible second of the experience.
When we finished the 10-15 minute loop and started up the stairs to the apartment, my ride to the kennel pulled in. As soon as he saw the car pull to a stop, he knew something was up. Back inside, his energy (and body) started jumping, and by the time I’d grabbed his kennel bag, Darwin was performing aerial circles. He could not wait to get to the car, pulling me down the steps and across the walkway, which was problematic for me given that my thumb was caught between two straps.
As excited as he is to get in the car, he starts panicking the minute the doors shut. This isn’t a full-blow panic attack but a constant whine/whimper. (Read more about traveling with Darwin in The Reno Move series.) Whenever the car stops, he sticks his head into the front seat, as if we might forget he’s there.
For all his anxiety in the car, once we pulled in to the kennel, he switches to full blown hyperactive mode in a snap. He tries to beat you out of the car by leaping from the back to the front and dashing between your legs, so you have to be ready to stop him. As nervous as he might be about being left alone leading up to a trip, the moment he realizes where he is, he forgets all about me. Opening the door to the kennel is like opening a Christmas gift comprised of a thousand different Christmas gifts. He tries to identify each smell on the floor, the counter, the shelves … he knows what I smell like so I hold no interest.
When they open the gate to take him into the back, where his private room and doggie day care play area await, I imagine this must have been what it was like for my dad to drop me off at school – I couldn’t wait to get out of the car and to my friends and maybe I’d shout a “Bye!” as the car door was slamming.
Lesson learned. Kids, say goodbye, then shut the door. Parents want you to at least pretend you will miss them.
After the drop-off, I hit the local Walmart to pick up some supplies for the trip and decided against my better judgment to get McDonald’s for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I love McDonald’s breakfast as far as fast food options, but starting the day with a heavy breakfast always makes me feel lethargic. I did it because I knew that with two sausage biscuits with egg sitting in my stomach I wouldn’t eat again for the rest of the day, and it would motivate me to get one last piece of exercise in this afternoon since I won’t be spending my usual 60-120 minutes walking Darwin around today.
Still, I knew getting the biscuits was playing into my self-destructive nature. It’s fitting that when I got back to my apartment, put on the pre-match show for the Australia/Netherlands match, and unfolded the first wrapper that the food assembler at McDonald’s decided my sausage biscuit with egg didn’t need the egg.
Or the sausage.
That’s right, he made my sausage biscuit with egg by heating up the biscuits, wrapping them, and giving them to me.
I walked back to McDonald’s and the nice girl at the counter was ready for me, saying, “He forget the egg, didn’t he?”
“And the sausage,” I said, causing her face to drop as she looked at the two lonely biscuits.
There was a time when this kind of thing would have caused me to erupt with rage at someone’s incompetence, but I’d like to think I’m much less of an asshole now than I used to be. Certainly, it takes a lot more to bother me now, and I was more bemused by anything else (forgetting an ingredient, I can see, but forgetting all of them?). The walk back to McDonald’s to get what I actually ordered killed the time I would have spent watching talking heads (and wondering why Alexi Lalas is so grumpy – is he mad he didn’t the USMNT, either?) and had me back on the couch within a minute of kick-off. The food assembler was clearly new to the job, as the girl at the counter had to talk him through the process and she tossed a free apple pie into the bag without saying anything about it, so while the mistake was unfortunate, they owned their mistake and made amends.
Good on them.
I’ll spend my pre-flight day sending off a few applications, sending a report in to work, packing, and making sure the iPhone and the Kindle are properly charged. The shirt I’m wearing for the wedding arrived just a few nights ago and it’s way too long, but I don’t know if I want to attempt a fix. I left the fridge in a solid state for the person who’s spending the weekend here to escape their housemate, though what they eat is more on them than me. I think we both know what will be consumed more than anything is my Netflix account.
I’m looking forward to the weekend. I haven’t been back to Massachusetts in three years (unfortunately, I won’t make it back to Winchendon this trip due to time constraints) so it will be good to see the family and my brother’s friends, and it will be extra good to bask in the presence of the Atlantic Ocean once more. (If you’ve been reading the Travel essays at all, you know the focus will be on place and strangers more than personal relationships, and when they are focused on the latter, names will be changed.)
Bring on the lobstahs.