Saturday, October 10, 2015

Unplugging for A Trip

My husband and I are headed to India again next week, so this will be my last post before a hiatus of a month or more. I’m looking forward to the trip, but as with any protracted time away from home, there are considerable preparations involved. I can remember the days when the main question someone asked on the way to the airport was: “Did we unplug the iron?” These days, “unplugging” has a different meaning.

I’ll have infrequent access to the Internet, so I want to limit messages coming in to my email. To accomplish this, I’ll need to de-activate my electronic and social media contacts. Since Facebook sends me a message whenever a close friend posts something, everyone will now be coded as an acquaintance. I’ll contact those who email me directly with any frequency, asking them to remove me from their lists for a while.

Another important detail is medication. I just counted my blood pressure pills and I have enough to last until we get back. That’s a good thing, because my insurance won’t pay for an early refill.

Tomorrow I’ll take care of some of the more mundane preparations, like laundry and ironing. Once they’re washed, I’ll sequester my husband’s new underwear so they stay clean for the trip. He refuses to give up his old T-shirts. They’re full of holes, but he loves how soft they are. I’ll hide those somewhere before we start packing.

Monday, I’ll pay all the bills that will come due while we’re away. I’ll also have my final sax lesson before the trip. Tuesday we’ll head up to Providence for the day. I’ll get a haircut and Jagdish will finalize loose ends at the store. We want to get home to watch the Democratic debate on CNN. It’s a good thing it’s not like the Republican ones, with an undercard that starts early, or we’d never make it on time.

Wednesday is reserved for packing, since we’re leaving early Thursday morning. We usually head out with two large, empty suitcases that we bring back filled with goods for Jagdish’s store. This trip, two relatives have asked us to transport a suitcase for each of them, so we’ll probably nest those inside the larger ones, like Russian dolls.

It’s often a challenge to figure out how to cushion things, since we always bring some gifts and various items that family members can’t find in India. This trip, it’s Lysol Crisp Linen Air Freshener, Neutrogena Acne Wash and a few other personal articles.

Still to be scheduled: repositioning potted plants to areas that the lawn sprinkler can reach, coloring my gray roots (after my haircut, so I don’t waste the dye), bringing in the flag, and submitting written material that has deadlines while we’re away. That would be my monthly column in Rhode Island’s Prime Time and a bi-monthly news item in the Brown Alumni Magazine for my college class.

The iCal on my computer is filled with reminders of what needs to be done over the next few days before we leave, since I rely on it for everything in my life that’s important. Oh, who am I kidding. I rely on it for everything. Period.

I’ve been systematically removing the alarms for all the birthdays and anniversaries that will come up over the next three weeks. That includes my brother and his wife’s 24th anniversary, which is the same day as Jagdish’s and my 25th. It occurs to me that it would be great to send them a postcard from Agra. That prompts me to add another to-do for next week: print out address labels for those we’ve promised to send cards to.

As I deactivated all those reminders and prepared to re-classify my Facebook contacts, I had an awakening of sorts. There’s something empowering about cutting the electronic umbilical cord. Virtually all my communications for three weeks will be face-to-face and not electronic, just like in the “old days.” Who knows. I may enjoy it so much that I won’t bother to plug back in when I come home.

If you don’t hear from me by Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays!

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