Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Change And A Rest

I warn my colleagues that I'm going to start getting antsy on my last shift before a vacation. They know that as the clock inches toward six in the morning I will be shooting out of the dispatch center like Calvin dashing out to play with Hobbes after school. It's not that I don't like work; I do, but one does need a break for time to time.

Working twelve hour shifts I end up with what appears to be a crazy patchwork quilt of shifts, Saturday, Sunday Monday, four hours Tuesday, off Wednesday then work Thursday and Friday. The next week I work the opposite except I always have a four hour shift Tuesday night to make up my forty hours weekly. By the city's payroll schedule I work three twelves and a four Monday to Sunday. It's fabulous. Especially as when I am working I get to spend my afternoons at home after I wake up, alarm clock free. I have lots of time to myself to recharge my introverted batteries.

So when my vacation starts the minute I wake up with me getting on or in a vehicle I still get a stab of uncertainty...should I perhaps plan to spend a little time at home enjoying the sun and the peace and quiet of my refuge? Then I remind myself that I can do that any day of the week. Time to get going.
Cheyenne is not a great traveler, and by that I mean she derives little pleasure from riding in a car, and whatever she does get comes from sitting behind me knowing I am there with her. I make it as good as I can with plentiful stops along the way, but at day's end when she sees us pull up in front of the bright lights of the front desk of a dog friendly La Quinta she starts to perk right up. This is where the day's road ends and she is a happy Labrador, swishing her big yellow tail importantly as she struts down the corridor impatiently nosing each door we pass wishing it to be our refuge for the night.
There are some people who never leave Key West, a circumstance I find extraordinary for I am addicted to the internal combustion engine and the freedom gained thereby. Life in Hawaii or worse in the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico would be too circumscribed by impassable water. I look forward to mountain excursions this summer on my motorcycle as relief from the flatness of the great Florida sandbox. Even in the car the road is a expression of an absence of responsibility of not having a place in the scheme of things. In the car we are freed from the bonds of societal convention, and we can drive any direction we please untrammeled by security checks or prohibitions we can carry large bottles of shampoo or even guns if we were so inclined (we're not). In the movies the road trip stands for new beginnings and unlimited possibilities. We aren't quite so far reaching my wife and I but we appreciate the freedom our car brings. It is not unlimited but It is a pretty stretchy elastic band that extends our scope far from our jobs and responsibilities and place in the world.

I will look forward to coming back, breathing a sigh of relief as we cross the Dade county line and leave behind the mass of people Up North. I have plans for when I get home, to launch the boat and look forward this year with the hope of a summer afloat. There will be road trips I don't doubt but first I shall be glad to get back to work, to my motorcycle, and to my routine. I will collect my accumulated mail and resume my newspaper delivery in the driveway. Things will be back to normal next week.

Meanwhile we have to confront roads, maps and weather and cold temperatures and we shall be the better for it, if only for a week confronting an actual seasonal change.