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Gentle Joy in my Jammies

I ended up not going to Michigan for what would have been a very fun dog and pony show among people I thoroughly enjoy. Yesterday I had a disastrous morning where despite feeling queasy and exhausted I showed up at the airport with plenty of time to spare, but by the time I went back to my car twice–once for my cell phone, the second time for my suitcase!–then stood in the wrong line, I had missed my flight by two minutes. (Actually, the plane would not take off for another twenty-eight minutes, but these days you better be there nice and early. In any event, I haven’t missed a flight in thirty years.)

I was not feeling well–GI distress, headache, and a vague disorientation–and when the counter clerk said, “We closed the counter two minutes ago. Come back in five hours and see if you can get on the next flight on stand-by,” I burst into tears. Which I realize is not the sort of admission you expect from a library geek-administrator with background in military leadership, but it’s what happened. “Woo hoo hoo hoo hoo,” I cried, sitting on an airport bench. “Woo hoo hoo hoo.”

Then, snuffling into my sleeves, I let myself admit that maybe, just maybe I was getting a message. If I had a real bug, I didn’t need to share it with hundreds of fellow travelers. If it was just exhaustion from a few months of holdin’ it together through the bucket of activity that has been my life–household moves, system migrations, finishing a thesis, and moving cross-country–maybe I didn’t need to push my body through something it was trying hard not to do. (Forget the cell phone, maybe; but who leaves the suitcase in the trunk?)

Sandy heartily agreed I should cancel. I called Christine, then drove home (getting lost on the way in my muddlement–I was so late I worried Sandy, but really, the Florida countryside is beautiful), put on my pajamas, and crawled into bed. I slept away the morning, read for an hour, then dozed away the afternoon. We watched TV and then I slept another ten hours. I am still tired today.

So, o.k., maybe I need a little rest.

I’m off for all of November. My wonderful former job is now behind me, and my wonderful new job doesn’t start until December 1. People say things to me like “How do you do all you do?” and “You’re such a bundle of energy.” Up to now it’s been easy; but these days I need to cheat a little and find some tricks to help my body catch up with my mind. I haven’t had a real vacation in several years–if by that we mean real down-time–and now, at 49, I feel it.

I feel a little foolish telling people I’m off for November. All of November? some of them ask. Then I feel ashamed. I should not be admitting to taking all this time off; I should be bragging about my output. Heck, I’ve had two weeks off every year for the last decade (even if some of it has been used up by family obligations or cross-country moves)–what am I, a wimp?

But today, I told the woman sawing through the paperwork for my “Save the Manatees” license plate–my only task all day– that I am a “woman of leisure” until December 1. “Enjoy every minute of it,” she replied, and tilted a grim smile my way. Girlfriend, I hear you. On behalf of all of us, I will.

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