Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Two Faces of Travel, Part 2

Pope often points out that I accentuate the negative in my blog. Well, duh. A few weeks ago I elaborated on how being a perfectionist and a pessimist colors my world, especially when it's time to travel. (Review that blog post here.) My glasses are not rose-colored. More like a dim shade of blue.

Besides, isn't that what entices readership--bad news? That's been proven over and over by screaming headlines and scandalous spread sheets. Think National Enquirer. Serial killers. Kim Kardashian. Who wants to read about blue sky, picnic lunches without ants, and peace treaties?

In July 2019, I spent two glorious weeks pickin' and singin', and chatting with old and new friends, at music camp. In two subsequent blog posts, I deliberately accentuated the positive. B-o-r-r-r-ing.

Here's the backstory you've all been waiting for--what went "wrong."

Naturally, it begins on the boat. Are you surprised?

The day before leaving for music camp, we returned from a semi-glorious sail on Chesapeake Bay. Why only semi? The sky was blue. Not too hot. Light wind responded to our beautiful pink spinnaker. Our young friend Lakshmi decorated the deck.
But the starter motor balked. This troublesome part has caused grief and anxiety for months. In June we missed a raft-up with other boats and had to head home under sail. Other times, we never got out of our slip. Press the button, no click. Multiple mechanics failed to fix it.

That was the beginning of my troubles on that clear blue day prior to music camp. Pope jiggered some wires and coached the engine into starting. Off we sailed to a cozy cove behind Gibson Island, my anxiety only somewhat mildly appeased.
On our return, the engine cooperated. Whew. Anxiety greatly reduced. Stress meter green.
But the weather changed. We tucked into our home slip just as the clouds let loose their load of moisture. Good timing, right? Well, yes. But the rain quickly coated the deck and the companionway ladder. And, coming down that ladder, I slipped.

Had it been any other ordinary day, I would have iced the injuries, slept it off, and re-evaluated the next morning. But my spine was swollen, my lower back throbbed, and the next morning I was headed for a remote camp in the mountains of West Virginia. Stress meter red and rising.

I hunkered down for six hours in the emergency room at Georgetown Hospital, being probed and pressed and waiting two and a half hours for radiologists to pick apart images from a CT scan, searching for spinal fractures and kidney damage.  (My kind of people, radiologists--perfectionists!) Home by 3 am with a relatively clean bill of health.

Seven hours after that, with a sore back that made it painful to ride in the car, sit in a folding chair in classrooms, and hunch over a guitar, I took off over the mountains for a remote location in wild and wonderful West Virginia.

Two faces of travel? You bet. This is the other side.

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