People in Florida keep asking me how much longer I’m going to keep traveling. It’s a legitimate question, I think. I’ve certainly been wondering about the answer myself. But I don’t know. Being back in Florida definitely feels like coming home, more than any other state, which is not so much what I would have expected. I lived in California for longer than I lived in Florida, and I spent my entire childhood visiting Pennsylvania. New York is the state where I’ve lived the longest. But Florida feels comfortable, Florida feels easy.
I also almost cried yesterday when the grocery store didn’t have the dog food I wanted. It was my grocery store, a home store for me. Not the one that I went to most often when I lived here, but one that I went to often enough that it should have felt familiar. But it didn’t. I had to hunt for the dog food and then it wasn’t there. Change happens. And a grocery store changing brands, re-organizing aisles, that is not the sort of change that should make one want to cry.
I think, though, that navigating unfamiliar grocery stores has turned into one of the most exhausting elements of a life of continual travel for me. I can remember in my first month on the road loving the adventure of a new store. Sometimes I still do. Often I still do!
But then there are the days when all I want is to get in and get out. I don’t want an adventure, I just want to get a need met as quickly as possible so I can get back to whatever I am doing that is more interesting to me. Yesterday it was to get on the road so that I could come down to Merritt Island and write with my friend, Lynda. I didn’t want to waste hours hunting for the right sort of dog food.
As it happens, I didn’t. I bought some strange canned food, ridiculously expensive and radiating organic healthiness, so that I could get moving, and today B and I are paying the price. Dogs don’t react well to abrupt changes in food, usually. Poor B. On top of the ear infections and the wheezing, he didn’t need an upset tummy. He’ll be okay, though. I also bought ingredients to make the homemade food that he likes, so if I can’t find the right food today, he’ll get to have chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner and he’ll be delighted.
Meanwhile, my travel plans for the next six weeks or so involve nothing new: familiar driveways, a couple of familiar state parks, lots of time spent with people I love. At the end of it, after the holidays, I think I’ll have a better sense of whether I’m tired of traveling and really need to figure out where I can settle down for a while or whether I’m eager to get back on the road. Maybe, like right now, both will still appeal.
I’m probably not going to spend a lot of time blogging, either, because even though I know that these memories — of time spent well, of friends and people and good conversations, of interesting meals and holidays — will be as important to me in the future as any campground review ever, well, I’d rather be spending my writing energy on Grace and my life energy on living.
That said, here’s a story I want to remember: hanging out with C and her son, A, in her back porch, talking about media mothers and C’s resemblance to Joyce on Stranger Things.
I texted R.
Me: What media mom would remind you of me? (Am conversing with C and her son)
The next day
R: No idea. Sorry!
Me: (Sad emoji)
Me: I shall choose to believe that is because I am unique and original.
R: You could also construe that as representative of the fact that good parents are only interesting in fiction if they die.
R: (Shrug emoji)
Me: … (Dustin’s mom from Stranger Things) is personally my take.
Me: and since you haven’t watched Stranger Things that doesn’t mean much
R: I have
R: all of it
Me: Oh! Well, then, really, Dustin’s mom?
R: Dustin’s mom is pretty close
Me: (Blushing smile emoji)
For anyone who hasn’t watched Stranger Things, S2, Dustin’s mom is gullible, easily manipulated by her son, but clearly dotes on him. He makes her laugh and she thinks he’s awesome. I looked for the internet’s take on her and the only articles I found described her as a “lovable helicopter mom” and “lacked much definition beyond her status as a loving mom.” Eh, not the perfect descriptions, but as media moms go, I’m very pleased that R sees the resemblance.
And I really shouldn’t have let myself fall into the internet rabbit hole that is articles on Stranger Things, because I could be writing right now. Or doing laundry or hunting for dog food or even hanging out with L, who’s working away at her kitchen table while I’m sitting on her porch!