Friday, February 16, 2018

to Chicago

One consequence of travel for me is that during long connections (flight or bus, it doesn't matter), I often read things that I wouldn't otherwise read. I had already enjoyed a morning look at Prof. Tim Wu's  The Tyranny of Convenience in the New York Times and now, during the ride to Chicago, I am riveted by the New Yorker article, The White Darkness, A Solitary Journey Across Antarctica. Perhaps predictably, the NYT article is up my alley: breezy, mildly provocative, it describes something I'm all too familiar with -- the seductiveness of comfort.

If I may go back to the theme of how Ed and I are different, I can tell you that these articles spell it out right there: he is not at all seduced by the easy path. He, much as the hero of the New Yorker story, is seduced by challenge. It may be easier to call someone to fix the furnace, or to travel comfortably to a room with a view of the Gulf in Cuba. But that would be me. He, instead, will research, look for spare parts and toil over the damn machine himself. And he'll sail a small boat to Cuba solo and once there, sleep on someone's floor. Otherwise, what's the point?

And yet, at another level, are we that different? I like a clean room with a good view, and don't look to me to mess with furnaces, and yes, yes, yes, I am seduced by an easy path, but oh, I do love me my challenges! If a day doesn't have something in it that requires a huge push to get to the end, well then it feels like I've let it slip by, wastefully.

Still, there is that temptation of the easy path: the feet up, a glass of wine and a bite of chocolate, a browse through today's listings of dining tables, a quick laugh over a Seinfeld rerun, that tenth mystery in a series of French tales from the Dordogne... It's just so alluring! Fine, I tell myself. Indulge. So long as it is the reward after a day of struggle and learning.

Well, never mind. The weekend before me will place me in the thick of family life as seen from a perspective other than the farmhouse.  Time with beloveds is never time wasted.

The morning is brilliant! It's cold again, but the sun is out. Much of the snow cover has melted, but it's still very pretty out there.

farmette life (6 of 6).jpg

We eat breakfast in the sun room.

farmette life (5 of 6).jpg

And then Ed goes his way (to his techie meetings) and I go my way (grocery shopping) and eventually I pack my bag and catch that bus to Chicago. Several hours later, I get off the L train...


... and walk the few steps to La Colombe, a cafe in the neighborhood where the younger couple lives. A cup of coffee, a financier...


...a few minutes to scribble something here and then I'm off to their place!

(My, she's looking rounded!)


All of us (except for Ed, who is excused by virtue of cheeper duty) are gathering for a baby shower tomorrow. Actually big sister, their dad and I are hosting the event, but I have to admit that the organizational effort is hardly mine. I just say "yes" a lot, which is easy, because the ideas, mostly my older girl's ideas, are all good.

But all that comes tomorrow. Tonight is the easy comfy stuff of eating dinner with the younger guys and too, the in laws, who flew up for the event. We eat at Le Bouchon -- a local French bistro that serves the classics. And I love that, because a great French bistro with traditional foods is actually tough to find in cities like Paris. There are too many there that are tired, catering to people who don't know or don't care. Not so Le Bouchon -- it's fantastically, nostalgically, deliciously traditional French bistro food!

And now is the time to rest up. Tomorrow is one big spin of activity. The challenge will definitely be the one I face all too often when traveling -- to find the time to write it all down before we all slip into the next day.