From “Why” to “Why Not”

© Gaya | 
It’s a few minutes before midnight. I’m sitting here at an airport lounge: munching on nuts, coffee already gone cold, laptop open, no immediate plans to sleep despite the lateness of the hour, having already taken a 30-minute nap in sitting position earlier while people around me were having dinner. And I’m wondering: why does this not feel unnatural?

Why does it not feel like a disruption of ordinary life?

Have I really gotten so used, in the stretch of a fortnight, to waiting hours for flights and fueling on coffee and falling asleep in the midst of strangers?

Because that’s not me. Not at all. Not ordinarily. When I’m home, I’m a homebody. My personal three-word horror stories include “knock on door” and “unexpected phone call.” Heck, even expected phone calls fill me with dread. And I’m extremely private: a friend says poker is the natural state of my face.

But travel seems to signal a temporary key change. The rhythm of who I am and what I do shifts: suddenly, I talk to strangers (sometimes) and dance (okay, just once) and eat gelato (normally too expensive). Stripped of my usual surroundings, my usual “why?” becomes an “eh, why not?” It’s almost like having an alternative life. It’s not a radical transformation — obviously! Dancing just once, tsk — but travel does seem to make what’s not normal almost normal.

Keyword being “almost.”

Would I like it to be my new normal though?

Hmmm… Nah.

Because I like my old normal just fine: my little ordinary life. I would seriously cry if I had to travel for a living. For me, travel is a treat. It’s like, oh, tiramisu. I love tiramisu but if I ate it all the time, it wouldn’t be as special. (Didn’t stop me from eating the lounge’s last two slices earlier, but you know what I mean.) Or like…cherry blossoms. They’re beautiful and they would still be beautiful if they bloomed year round but it’s their transience that makes beholding them such a treat.

So.

I’ll savor this treat while it lasts, dance however clumsily to this new rhythm, and when the last notes die I’ll happily go back to ordinary.

Until the next time, of course.



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