Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nobody's Up Except the Moon and Me

(Rosie, Tom Waits)

Imagine yourself in this position: you have a total of four weeks off, split into two two-week intervals. During that time you have absolutely no responsibilities, including maintaining a regular household schedule (meals, cleaning…) because no one else is there and when it’s just you why bother making the bed? Furthermore, in the town where you currently live there is no one around to talk to because they are all, from personal observations, marginally stupid. Ah, one last note, you haven’t had anything to do for the past three months so there is nothing to “catch up” on during your upcoming free time. What would you do?

Joe with a golden eagle
Allow me to unmask the mystery-- I was referencing my situation here in Las Cruces. See, for the past few weeks Joe has been far away in northern Arizona playing with eagles. Since he’s been gone I’ve had a few symphony obligations which have proved to be extremely welcome distractions. For one, I tend to get a bit anxious before playing in public (“Is it possible you’re being a little dramatic?” Joe likes to ask right before getting flung at violently by a hysterical woman), so it was probably for the best that he wasn’t around to deal with me this time. But today was the last performance and I don’t have to be back until the 16th which is a single night engagement. Immediately after that I am free to roam for another two weeks until Joe’s triumphant return at the end of the month.

The Grand Canyon and the hard working Colorado river
Between this weekend’s performances and last weekend’s, I managed to take a short trip up to visit Joe, via Albuquerque where I stopped in and caught up with an old friend. My stay with Joe was quite short because he had to fly up to Berkeley and give a presentation (he's really smart), so I had a few days of wandering around the Grand Canyon by myself before heading home for more rehearsals. It was a lovely escape; as for some unsolicited advice on visiting the Grand Canyon—start super early, pack a breakfast and eat it at an overlook or watch the sunrise, then retreat in the afternoon and resurface in the evening. Otherwise the massive hordes of people might sour up the beautiful views.

Deciding what to do with myself during this open period is overwhelming, and true to form, I tend to get a little carried away. For example, yesterday I found a cheap ticket to Columbia leaving from Miami. With all the time in the world it seemed sensible to drive out to Florida, catch a flight to South America, not die, then come back. My mind needs a little help coming up with reasonable options. If you’re wondering what is unreasonable about flying to Columbia, I would answer nothing. Joe, however, made me promise a long time ago that I wouldn’t go into foreign countries alone anymore. Something about quality of life… he must have made a convincing argument because I agreed. Mexico isn’t entirely off the list, I don’t think. And it’s so close! But please, help me out and tell me what you would do. What are some hobbies you recommend? Would you stay or go on a trip? Where would you go? Helpfully, here are a few guidelines:
* We have an apartment, so I’m limited project-wise to indoor activities (i.e. no wood cutting)
* There is a lot of beautiful land in the Southwest that would be fun to explore
* No international travel unless you want to come with me (which isn’t a half-bad idea; I speak Spanish…)
* Minimal cost is ideal
* I have family in Las Vegas, southern California, and Mississippi
* Anywhere I go I will be sleeping in a tent outside, so climate is important as is accessibility

Let the good ideas roll!


Carol said...

Please don't go camping alone--not safe.

Las Vegas has lots of people you know, it's close, and you could stay with family, so that would make it cheap.

Really, don't go camping alone. Oh, I already said that, but don't!

Ron said...

First, I think travel to Mexico should be ruled out. Too much crap with the cartels and normal thievery, debauchery, etc... As for hobbies. Oil painting classes? Pole dancing? (for exercise)

Brezbee said...

Well Emily I think you should come see me then. LOL I do miss you very much.

Brenda said...

I think you could start by volunteering somewhere for the first two weeks. It sounds like the area needs some help. Maybe you could start with schools in the hope that you might find some smart children that could grow up and remain that way. Then you could help with animals - dog walking at shelters? You could also read to the elderly or play your harp for them.

Brenda said...

As for travel - you might want to drive that winding road to Hillsboro and go to their art museum and diner.
Tiffany could be a fun visit. Do you know anyone still living in NY you could visit for a weekend? Wait, what about visiting your mom? Now that is a great idea!