Tuesday, December 20, 2016

About The Birthday Boy

In trying not to freak out about this week's travels, I'm concentrating on the destination. I like saying I'm spending Christmas in the Keys because it's true and I like the alliteration. But I'm really arriving on the 22nd so I can celebrate Henry's birthday with him.

We'll be having dinner at Sarabeth's, one of his favorite spots. We had dinner that together last year on Christmas Eve, but I was already starting to get sick and remember little of the cuisine. At that point we didn't know how ill I really was, and Henry felt bad that I didn't love the restaurant he chose. This year I'm celebrating him by showing him it was my gut, not the menu, that had me so meh about this local gem he wanted to share with me.

Dinner's gonna be expensive, so his gift itself can't be. But that doesn't mean it wasn't carefully considered. I'm wrapping a set of Kikkerland Flasher Bike Lights for him. There's a steady pale light for his handlebars and a flashing red one to attach to his seat, facing behind him. These lights are tiny and will be easy to slip into his ubiquitous backpack. He rides all the time, and when his regular lights go out, he can slip these on and still pedal safely.

I don't want to go!

To Key West for Christmas.

Instead, I wish it was December 27. Then I'd be safe at home, rubbing my sunburn/mosquito bite and looking back on what a good time I had.

I dread flying. I really do. My flight is at dawn and what if I sleep through all three (3!) alarms that I shall set and the automated phone call?

What if, when I get to O'Hare, the endless TSA waitlines have suddenly reappeared and I miss my flight? Yes, today the line at Delta gates are only 11-20 minutes. But I'm not flying today, am I?

Then, since I cannot fly directly to Key West, I have to deal with TWO take offs and TWO landings. That's when there's the greatest chance of incident, you know. And I'll be flying over water. With sharks and gators. Oh, my!

When I get there, I know that my friend Henry will want to complain talk about Trump. I really cannot do much more of this without screaming. The man hasn't even taken the oath of office yet and has already been chosen the Worst of All Time. I simply cannot spend four years being depressed and bitching about the President. Talk to me about issues -- how you're supporting women's or LGBT rights. Tell me what you're doing in your community to mobilize and protect your town from possibly regressive environmental and civil rights policies. But don't quote hysterical online articles and MSNBC hosts. I have the internet and cable, Henry. I KNOW!

You know what else I can't do? Worry unendingly between now and Thursday 3:00 AM -- when this adventure starts. It's only Tuesday! I know I'm on a fast-track to stress-induced diarrhea at this rate.

So today I'm going to treat myself to a nice big lunch at George's, a neighborhood mainstay. I'm going to read my Agatha Christie mystery -- set in the 1930s, so no mention of flights over water. I may do some housework. I'll definitely squeeze a little more into that last Goodwill bag of 2016.

And I'll concentrate on this. My view of EYW, with those dear, dorky Seward Johnson sculptures glistening in the afternoon sun. And Henry on the other side of those glass doors, waiting to welcome me and begin celebrating his birthday and Christmas.