Keystone 2, Powerless & Power Full – March 8 ,2018
Emily Jo Donatello
(call me “Em”)
Please open the audio below and listen while reading this entry:
N’oreaster Quinn crashed through as if, a transgender, it had been startled by a hostile spouse: random destruction leading to emotional devastation. My home – that is, my family home, not Em’s apartment – suffered some damage from the storm, amplified by loss of electrical service. One of my businesses was also harmed. Wednesday was a bad, very bad day.
“Come all without. Come all within. You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn.” (Bob Dylan)
Getting outside Thursday morning early, I did see some of the primal beauty Quinn left behind.
No time, however, to reflect upon the beauty or the power of nature. Instead, be practical. Clean up fallen limbs and branches; clean off snow-covered vehicle (the one I was to take to Harrisburg). Leave behind a wife who must face any new calamity alone. Thankfully I’d had a whole house generator installed last fall, anticipating just this kind of emergency, although not truly anticipating this guilt generator. Selfish? Too selfish?
I offered to stay, forego Keystone for hearthstone. My wife said, “Go!” Ordinarily my situation at home is not the best, as she does not want to engage with me, Emily, in any way, ever. Nevertheless, she is trying, I am sure of it, to allow my explorations and not interfere except to ask for no deception. Others like me have it far worse, so I will not complain. She was more than generous in urging me to go in search of…what? Myself?
I went. I worried.
By the time I got to Montclair, my guilt was rising. Fortunately I’d already selected a few of the outfits I’d be taking and had put them in a foyer closet, so I had something of a planned packing base. Good thing, as my mind could not focus. I dashed about the apartment in a frenzy of disorganization. This drawer, that drawer; this hanger; that one. The time was fleeing before me, and I conjured images of traffic inside the Harrisburg afternoon rush hour. (Is there an afternoon rush hour in Harrisburg?) I knew I’d forget something important. I just couldn’t remember what I’d forget.
Passing noon, two hours past my intended departure time, I had to decide. Go, but in “drab,” or take another hour to “transform?” I’d never arrived at a conference as anyone but Emily. Stressed and confused, I accepted the expedient.
I hit the road. My GPS predicted a 3:30 p.m. arrival. Driving in a mindless fog, I pulled into the parking lot at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey at 3:20 p.m. Having been there twice before, I knew to park down the hill and around to the back; take the elevator to the lobby on the 3rd floor. Pulling my ball cap low over my eyes and staring straight ahead, I quick marched from the elevator to the Front Desk, checked in, found my room, commandeered a luggage cart, brought everything up to the room, returned the cart, and — praise the Lord! – saw no one I knew.
I sat on the edge of the bed and melted in pain. More than once I thought I’ll stay the night and leave in the morning. Why didn’t I do that? I don’t know. Perhaps it was getting two text messages from friends, asking after me, asking what I’d be doing for the evening. I replied I needed time alone, but their innocent solicitations seemed to break my swoon. I unpacked.
Then I discovered two of the things I’d forgotten. Toothbrush and pajamas! By then I was so mad at myself I determined I’d go out to the Target I could see from my window and, drab or not, buy Emily pajamas to wear for the 3 nights of Harrisburg. And I did. And the cashier at Target paid my items no attention whatsoever. Leaving the store, suddenly I was overwhelmed by hunger.
Across the parking lot I saw a “5 Guys” and instantly knew I needed the comfort of a big burger and fries. The young man at the counter, a trainee, could not punch in my order and needed the assistance of a Supervisor, who for my trouble gave me a super-sized drink on the house. As I paid, he thanked me for my service! I was mystified until I remembered (in honor) I was wearing my late father’s wool cap, “Navy” embroidered on its front panel. Rather than confuse matters, I mumbled, “Thank you.”
In my room the food tasted ambrosia; my free drink, sweet nectar. By 9:30 p.m. I was asleep in my new pajamas. In the morning I’d put the emotional nightmare aside and awaken myself. And so I did.
email: email@example.com (mind the underscores, or you’ll — like me — trip in writing)