I am amazed at how quickly everything is happening. The background checks and all the paperwork are over. I sat in the dining room of the boat and filled out chart after chart, line after line, detailing every medical event that's ever transpired in my life. It was the most fun ever, and I say that with sincerity. It's like a tiny, compact autobiography of trauma.
My answer: Frostbite and Hypothermia. (What I wanted to write was Frostbite!!! And HYPOTHERMIA!!!! But I kept it cool.) (Ha!)
Have you ever been hospitalized for a cold-weather related injury or illness?
Frostbite and Hypothermia.
Have you ever experienced sea-sickness? I chewed on the pen cap and studied my options: No. Yes. I don't know.
I checked the little box next to I don't Know.
We'll Soon Find Out would have been my best answer.
I found a subletter for my place over the summer. I found a good home for my dog, just for the summer, with two people I trust more than I trust myself. I put my two weeks notice in at the Seattle Boulder Project where I work. Where I used to work. It was the most fun ever, and I say that with sincerity. I'll miss that place.
Ooh, but I get to be the Medical Person In Charge, so that will be great fun!
My to-do list is growing as fast as I can cross things off. All these bright, inviting little restaurants are opening on Ballard Ave and I can't pass one without texting Andrew: We've got to go there before I leave! Like NOW! Like TONIGHT!
Everyone who has ever been to South East Alaska gets this look in their eye when they find out that's where I'm going for the summer. It will bite you, they all say, the way it bit me. And you'll never get it out of your system. I believe them. I believed the CEO of Intersea Discoveries when he told us we'd never, ever be the same after setting foot in Alaska. It was easy to take his word for it because he was crying as he delivered his welcome speech. He was crying as he recounted his first trip to Alaska some thirty years prior, when he admitted how much fuel our fleet of seven boats would use over the course of three months. "Do we have to use the fuel? Yes, we do. Are we going to spill any into the sea?" He stopped and put his hands above him like a preacher. "God Forbid. God Forbid."
And so I know my whole world is about to expand and all that. I know, and I know that I can't know the extent of it. But at the same time, in this funny and fantastic dichotomy, my physical world is actually about to shrink. To the size of a small boat called The Safari Endeavor. And I am not going to be able to run. I won't even be able to walk quickly. So for now, I'm running. I'm speeding all over the place. (On foot. I drive very carefully.)
Each night I pull the dog into bed and tell her about my day. Then I tell her I'll be leaving, but by Autumn I'll be back. And I'll have something that I've never really had before, when I get back. I tell her. This may come as a shock, babe, but when I come back, I'll have gained something really important.