Every day is different, but every day begins the same way, at the refrigerator door, in a dark kitchen.
The hundreds of people who live in the building next to ours are asleep, but if they aren’t they can look into my kitchen, lit up like a stage set when I turn on the dim light over the stove and open the fridge.
I tend to get up early in the morning to write, and this morning I got up even earlier because it’s a travel day. I’ve been trying to get ready to go, but I’m still not ready. Yes, I’m one of those reluctant travelers, one of those women who will tell you that she loves sameness and thinks the best place is home.
It’s not quite that, though. I wish I could move around in the world more effortlessly.
I’ve learned that a little stimulation from “outside” goes a long way. I remember rejoicing to learn that Virginia Woolf was similarly sensitive—even a party could destabilize her. Her husband Leonard said it was because she had never developed a “carapace”—a shell that turtles and snails grow. Without that carapace, all her senses and nerves were too rawly exposed.
Yet, we have no choice, most of us, about going out into society, whether to go to work, buy groceries, or, in the present case, travel to see family.
This, then, is the day’s challenge: getting this snail dressed and packed and out to O’Hare in plenty of time.