Good Night, America, How Are You? Day 1 — It’s Different Here

7:30 pm. I had really expected to be enjoying the trip by now. Maybe I should remember my last post and realize I’m sleep deprived and overwhelmed and grieving. Still, I don’t want to be cranky and I am.

The train is running late after running sooo very slow. We are in Albany, NY and they are adding cars for extra passengers.

My wife and kids haven’t ever been in this place before — on the train, together for days and days. I’m used to the train, but not like this. They are not used to the train at all. I like time to myself — without interruption — and my evening commute usually features no one talking to me, without kids and I can do what I want .
There’s a family behind me — a mom and two little boys. They are loud and goofy with high- pitched voices and lots of just -before-sleep-and- fighting-it energy. My daughters are adjusting to being away from home. My wife is doing an incredible job with everything except leaving me alone. It’s a shared experience trip and of course she wants to share it.

What do I want? I want to be left alone while I write or listen to music or look out the window. I don’t want to hear a child cry or whine or kick or have a temper tantrum because I think I should do something about it — give parental advice or something, I don’t know.

I don’t think of myself as a creature of habit, but I find myself with daily rituals more and more. I have my morning coffee — hot or iced – before I go to work. I catch the train. I catch the bus and l put in me earphones. I see clients . Mid day, I get lunch. I watch something on Netflix, returns calls, or catch a brief nap. Then I see clients , catch the bus, catch the train. None of this requires anyone else but clients. I have a good friend I see often on the train, but we both like sleep so neither interrupts the other if either of us needs sleep. My schedule is a habit or a groove or rut, depending on how you want to see it.

Right now am stuck in therapist mode — intense, on, used to being alone, not having to explain myself — my typically mode — I have become more and more of an introvert over the years , though I think I have always liked to isolate when overwhelmed . I missed a few days emotionally of the best week of my life — my first week at Deering as a teen– because it took me that long to relax allow myself to be “welcomed in”. Two other city guys, Matt and Bobby had the same trouble a year or so later so I think it must be a form of stripping away the spiritual shmutz if the city as love widens the heart and spirit.

This trip is no different in that I generally like the people around me I have fallen back into old ways. I am determined to be here now, because there’s too much to miss. My oldest will be graduating high school in 3 years and I want to be able to say I parented by being there. I no longer waste days if I can help it.

But it’s different out here – no schedules. No problems really, but it’s different and “different” will require different rules. I have to adjust to another mental time zone and I hope I will.

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