My pal Rachael ran off to Italy today.
Oh, it was planned - for a while, anyway, but a short enough while to qualify for caprice, I think. Even better, she doesn't know *exactly* what she's going to do while she's there. A little wandering, a little wine...
A couple of years ago, when I didn't know her quite as well, Rachael announced she was headed to Tahoe for the day, to ski. By herself. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea a person could do that. In my world, "ski trip" was a concept that involved me shopping and packing for a week, the kids loaded into the back of the SUV with snacks and movies, and lots of planning to see who all else was going to be on the mountain that weekend, so that kids' lessons and apres-ski happy hours could be arranged.
Not Rachael. She just *went*. She was going to be that brave person who could swoosh, devil-may-care-like, into the singles line, a place I thought was reserved for 11-year-old boys trying to escape their parents. She was going to have a beer with lunch if she felt like it. She was going to ski as long as she wanted and no longer, take the time to admire any old view that caught her eye, and not worry about anyone else's feelings for a whole day.
It may sound like a small thing, but believe me, it wasn't - my life changed that day. I don't know if I will ever ski by myself - I seem to have given up skiing - but Rachael taught me that you can do whatever you damn well want whenever you feel like it, within the usual parameters of human decency (which, I might add, are MUCH broader than I used to think) and to hell with anyone who wants to stop you.
(They're just jealous, in case I need to point that out, which I doubt because you're all smart and I imagine you already figured this all out long before me.)
Anyway, in that spirit, I just renewed my passport. It had expired, and while I haven't been overseas in a decade, and have no plans to be any time soon, YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. I choose to believe that it's entirely possible that Germany's going to buy the rights to the AFTERTIME series tomorrow (come on, Germany, you KNOW you want me) and insist I come and tell them all about it. Or I might go to Turkey with Junior (I saw an ad in the NYT travel section) - or anything, really.
- and oh, decent passport photo! - which makes me believe the universe rewards optimism :)