This has been a strangely uneasy start. Usually there's a certain poetry to departures, something evoke the oft-misattributed quotation about how, once you have committed, the world lays a path at your feet (somehow always cited as Goethe, actually from, uh.. author of "The Scottish Expedition"). That's usually the way it feels: you step out the door in the pre-dawn glow of a restless night lost to worries about what you've packed, what you've forgotten, what you've left undone. And like stepping onstage, something lifts. Your shoulders straighten, your lungs pull in just a little more air, and you're another person, in another world.
Hasn't happened this time. The wearying, grating complications that usually fall away like a winter coat are still there. Lights too bright, voices too loud, too strident. I smile at the TSA guy and give a "good morning" to try and set the tone as I hand him my ticket. He eyes me"Name? Spelled out?" Nothing else. I spell it for him; he looks from me to the passport and back again and, satisfied, calls out "Next!" to no one in particular. I am free to go.
Maybe it's lack of sleep. Or the fact that this *is* an edgier trip than my usual adventure. But it's upset that emotional rush I've come to expect when setting out. Little things keep tripping me up – sharp plastic edges catch at my sleeve; the metal handrail feels clammy, greasy. Sensations come at me – even the flight attendant's vacant "Have a nice day" jars me. Yes, her mind is elsewhere, but for a moment, my vision flickers to "Westworld", or Disneyland animatronics escaped, and gone underground.
It'll pass, I know it will. I'll curl up here in the dark of Seat 12A (when is a window seat not a window seat? When, inexplicably, there's a solid cabin wall where the window should be). When I wake up. somewhere short of my connection in Atlanta, the adventure will have started in earnest, and the world will have laid a path at my feet as I slept.