Friday, October 22, 2021

Road Trip

Scarlet's dog needs surgery.  I'll spare you the details, but the best surgeon for her is in Scottsdale.  Scarlet made an appointment and immediately texted me.

Until she moved to Florida to help her ailing, aging mother, Scarlet had lived in a Manhattan apartment for 40 years.  She (like most denizens of The City) walked to most destinations, taking a cab home if it was dark or she was tired.  A car in Manhattan is a luxury reserved for the very rich (or those with elderly parents just outside the reach of public transportation).  

She drove when visiting her parents in Florida, but being behind the wheel is not her favorite place to be.  Scottsdale is 120 miles away; 99% of her trip would be on the highway.  It's mostly 2, recently paved, lanes separated by a wide, grassy ditch.  The speed limit is 75, but that's more of a suggestion than an imperative.  

Hence, her text - was I free for a road trip on Thursday?  

She had other options, including going alone, but she'd really like my company.   I could drive her car.  She'd provide snacks and drinks and lunch or breakfast if I needed it.  She would navigate and provide scintillating conversation there and back.  

How could I refuse?

She pulled into our driveway at 7am.  There was a full tank of gas in a very clean car.  I spent a few moments adjusting and admiring and then, about two hours later, we were sitting outside at Starbucks, having a snack.  Naturally, being who we are, we were an hour early for the appointment.

We dined al fresco, then  I dropped them off at the vet,  parked her surprisingly lovely Camry under a tree in the parking lot, lowered the windows, and took a little nap.  

I watched a Safelite guy replace a windshield.  I read the WaPo and NYT on my phone.  Less than an hour later, they were back.  

We weren't hungry.  We had the dog.  An ultrasound would have given us a window without the pup, a time frame for The Heard Museum or shopping or eating someplace special, but it's still Pandemica and Scarlet's not comfortable being inside.  She declined the offer;  we turned right around and drove home.  

We're driving back next week for the surgery.  In the Before Times, we'd have stayed overnight someplace fabulous, gotten massages, eaten interesting food, visited the Musical Instrument Museum, heard some music, and picked up the dog after her overnight with the vet.  

Instead, we'll drop her off in the morning and right turn around.  

We did decide to add in an adventure on the way home - IKEA .

Scarlet wants a cabinet for her garage.  I will try to spend nothing.... and I will fail.  The big open spaces and our arrival as the store opens gives Scarlet an extra measure of security.  She'll still take precautions above and beyond, and that's okay because the most vulnerable and the most cautious always set the tone these days.  

We'll browse and imagine and judge and fill out those little white cards, trying to spell the unfamiliar names with tiny pencils.  She'll get her cabinet and we'll be doing something different and for a while it will feel normal.

This is what counts as a road trip in these times.  


  1. It was so good of you to respect Scarlett's comfort level. I am not going inside during Pandemica either, and not everyone has given me grace and respected my decision. You are a good friend.

    1. Thanks! People who can't respect your limitations are not really friends at all. It's another way to be kind... which, as Jason Sudekis said last night on SNL, is not really at the top of American's list right now.


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