I almost went to NYC last week

There was a cat in New York who needed rescuing, possibly abandoned in an apartment without enough food to last for weeks. There were three of us who could split the fourteen hundred mile round trip drive from the mountains of North Carolina. We had ample disinfectant wipes, enough hand sanitizer for a sponge bath, and a whole box of latex gloves. And, damn it, we were willing to do it.

This was Saturday night, March 22, about the time NYC was becoming the known epicenter of covid-19 in the US. We planned to leave at 5 am, armed with our own water and food so we only had to stop for gas and bathrooms. The plan. Drive eleven hours. Double park in front of the Brooklyn apartment, grab the cat and, okay, maybe a few other things, and exit NYC without speaking to a soul. Without touching a thing. Almost without breathing. Then drive eleven hours home.

We told a few other people what we were doing. Ummm. They were not impressed. What if we had a flat tire? A minor accident? How about car troubles or illness? As the list of ways this trip could go wrong grew, even we had to admit this was not as well-thought out a plan as we originally thought.

Then, a local caregiver for the cat was found. The lost roommate reappeared. The mission was now a luxury, reuniting the adorable cat (see above – she is adorable) with her loving human. Nice but no longer necessary. The plan was abandoned.

Would it have worked? We’ll never know.

This has always been a blog about time, and about possibilities. About multiverses and the choices we make. It’s about how little events determine the course of our lives in ways we cannot predict.

Times being what they are, at the extreme ends of the probability spectrum, we could have lost our own lives because of this journey, or maybe saved someone else’s. Who knows. In the middle, we’d just have returned home, tired, and with a cat.

 

 

 

On the Road

What is your dream vacation? I’m headed out the door on mine, and it is surprising how few of these I have taken. I’m talking about going somewhere I’ve never been; somewhere far enough off well-traveled roads that no one I know has ever been there. Except for my travel companion, I won’t know a soul. I have no plans for what to do when I get there, and no real expectations for how this will turn out. There is enough time, a whole week, for exploring and relaxing and seeing what will happen.

The truth is that I love out of the way places. I keep tucking them into my books, from the town of Flores on Lake Peten Itza in Guatemala in z2 to the to northeast corner of Greenland in d4. You can’t get too remote for my tastes.

charles-kuraltOn the other hand, my traveling companion, who is usually referred to as my husband, is noticeably agitated about this dive into the uncharted, combined with a notable lack of advanced reconnaissance.  I agree that it adds potential for problems, and I try to think of why such an adventure calls to me in a way that sight seeing and visiting loved ones and going and laying on a beach somewhere simply does not.

And I remember Charles Kuralt.

When I was a kid, we watched the evening news with Walter Cronkite. On a good night, the broadcast would include a segment called “On the Road” where this older, balding guy would wander into some town in the middle of nowhere and, always, discover a fascinating story to tell. I loved him, loved his travels and loved his stories. One could say I’ve spent much of my life trying to become Charles Kuralt, and I don’t know why. I even seem to have moved to his home state of North Carolina.

What was the charm? Maybe it was finding something you could not predict. Perhaps it had to do with taking a step back from busy life, and enjoying, for example, the simple pleasure of watching 8000 dominoes fall over.  See for yourself in this video from 1983.

Will I make discoveries like this on my vacation into the unadvertised, non-simulated nooks into which I go? Oh, I hope so. I really hope so.