Tonight, I sleep in Big Rapids, Michigan — but I’m not supposed to be here.
I’m supposed to be sleeping in Atlanta, Michigan, but it ain’t gonna happen. You see, I have a gig tomorrow in Atlanta, Michigan, and don’t worry: I’ll get to the church/quilting retreat on time. But I had no choice but to stop and sleep.
See, I left Chicago at 4 p.m. with six hours of driving ahead of me. (Trust me, it worked out to be quicker than flying and driving.) I knew it would be a long haul, but I felt good about things when I got the car all packed up. I had a book on tape. I had a falafel sandwich. But things didn’t go well getting out of the city. I didn’t get free of the traffic snarls until it was going on 6:00 p.m. or so and then my toll pass thing didn’t work and I wasted more time at two different toll booths and — ugh!
As I did and redid the math to see when I would finally get to my destination, I watched my good night’s sleep slip, slip away. I started to feel true panic and dread.
When I don’t get at least six hours of sleep, I feel ill. As in nauseated. You know that feeling? Most people do. And to have to be “on” for a day of teaching and lecturing? Heck no. That’s like operating heavy machinery under the influence. People can get hurt out there, including me.
So when I realized I’d be getting to my hotel after one in the morning because of the time change, instead of crying (more) I called a Holiday Inn Express a little over an hour from the McDonald’s parking lot where I had parked for a minute to figure out my life. I got a room. I booked the room.
After I got off the phone, I had one pang of buyer’s remorse: Couldn’t I make it, though? Was I just being a baby? I mean, this $149 + tax is gonna come out of my pocket; the organizers shouldn’t have to pay for this travel snafu, I figure.
But then I thought about safety (my own and others’) on the road. I thought about putting my head on a pillow. The choice to stop and sleep was the right one, that seems clear.
And I know I’m a lucky gal to have such options.
Goodnight, Big Rapids,