Rendered Fat Content


Artist unknown:
The Dancing Fox (1766)

"By this time tomorrow …"

By the final day of an excursion, the new has worn off. Discovery, which dominated the first days, no longer rules. We know how to get from here to everywhere. We've stumbled upon enough to fully satisfy our objectives yet we still have a day to fill. We've grown listless, muscles remembering the first day's exuberance. We're sanguine, almost indifferent. We barely manage to feed ourselves.

We fill in with the remaining items we promised ourselves we'd see, but these were never our primary purpose, and they only partially satisfied.
We immerse ourselves in a genuine embarrassment of riches. By this time tomorrow, we'll be thousands of miles from there, yet we can't quite seem to focus on what's right before us now. We're well-engaged in our SeparationDance, the necessary process by which a traveler releases his excursion. The trip's not done, but finishing.

The Muse and I show up for a warmly-anticipated art show, but it's so well-attended that I can't see anything displayed without people walking through my visual field. It's nobody's fault. The show's popularity gets in the way of anyone being able to appreciate the experience. I quickly slip through the crowd in favor of less popular galleries. I'm in a room filled with Renoirs, then another of Van Goghs, and I'm killing time waiting for The Muse. I became aimless and grateful for the lack of focus. I have no place left to go and no reason not to linger, suspended above and slightly beside my experience. The excursion briefly becomes timeless.

Lunch disappoints us both. We call an audible on the subway, heading back to the hotel, and finally head for The Brooklyn Bridge, a priority yet to be satisfied. It's a different bridge than the one we visited many times before. Then, it was a quiet stroll above the city. Now, the walkways are lined with entrepreneurs selling souvenirs and playing music so loud it hurts my ears. The walkway's also crowded with people failing to find a common gait. Half of them, I swear, are fiddling with their cell phones, blocking traffic. Confronted with one of the few absolute marvels of the world, many feel compelled to text. The absence of a common rhythm renders the walking torturous. We turn back once we reach not quite halfway over.

We find some dinner. We stroll back to the hotel, anticipating the four am limo departure to the airport. We're not up for trying to navigate the almost impossible railroad route in the wee hours of the morning. The limo's a clip job as we knew it would be, the driver waiting until we arrive at the airport to announce that he could not accept a card. Cash only, he insists. The Muse slipped into the terminal to find a cash machine, returning to payoff the swindler. We see New York in a more realistic light as we exit. It was first a Disneyland for adults but tarnished its image in use, just like each of us seems destined to do. As we made our way back to our hotel, I confided to The Muse that New York would eventually force each visitor to exit or go crazy. It's no different any place we go.

There's no place like home but also no place like any place else, either. The first day's different than the last. The anticipation might have been best. The memories will fade and render whatever disappointment we experienced into nothing. We will remember the high points and imprint upon those as if they accurately resembled the place. One key to a successful life insists upon a faulty memory. The way it was barely warrants recognition. We will remember how we thought it would be before we arrived. The SeparationDance ensures fond memories, wiping whatever difficulties we encountered from the permanent record. By this time tomorrow, we'll be thousands of miles from here.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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