• James Eric Fristad

... to be on your own

Now, there's a title. It almost suggests a mid-60s Bob Dylan song. Popular at the time, although as I recall, there was a raucus, counter-cultural intent there. Not much of a voice a-singing, truth be told, and frankly spiteful lyrics (really, go back and look them up if you doubt their brittle tenor, their dispassionate and heartless celebration of the decay of another's life).

And yet there is the little repeated couplet that comes to mind now, during these months' runup to our hoped for adenture. Words that speak to a little preoccupation that isn't all that rare, but which nobody really ever addresses aloud:

"How does it feel?"

The song Like a Rolling Stone relates to feelings of misery, I realize, which isn't remotely what we are about these days. But some of the words do touch the everyday reality of aging while planning. Getting a little worn around the edges, is a helpful euphemism.

The thing is, we cannot sprint along country roads effortlessly as we did once, dragging wheeled suitcases behind, oblivious to their bouncing misbehavior over uneven or missing cobblestones. I think of the walk from St Emilion's gare (train stop) to our rented AirBnB place in the old part of town. Google's optimistic estimate of walking time for the 1.5 km distance from there to 8 Rue de la Liberte, is 23 minutes. Which we shall resolve not to be intimidated by, as we're toiling along the sidewalks as Peugeots pass, and Renaults and likely a Fiat or two. There is a cab service of sorts in the region. Little tuk-tuk, three wheeled vehicles with electric power. Sounds neat and affordable, except that in the tiny print they are ready to charge a full human-being fare for each piece of luggage that makes the journey. Not outrageous but an irritation that we would prefer to avoid.

And that brings us back to the realities of sore feet and knees (whether titanium or the ordinary kind) and maybe iffy reserves of energy. Do we have the stuff to do this sort of endeavor? To keep doing it for week after week in new and unfamiliar settings that I have thoughtfully looked up but which have remained a little hazy, being a steadfast 5,000 miles or so distant from where we live, all the while?

Hahaha, stay tuned.

The departure day approaches slowly. Aggravatingly so, it seems at times. 259 days before Jon carts us and our small take-alongs to the airport. I'm not really addressing the child's anxiousness for Christmas morning to show up so he can actually remove the festive paper from those tantalizing things under the tree: items that if our parents have been clever at wrapping, have remained an infuriating mystery to us for a couple of weeks. No, I'm not comparing the snail's pace of these days to that kiddish anticipation of presents.

It's more about the lethargy that "plenty of time" breeds.

  • I don't really need to shed those pounds. Yet.

  • Maybe I will walk with purpose and peppy pace once a week only, for now. If it isn't too boring on that stupid track at the YMCA.

  • Strength training? A good idea, sometime. But soon, soon.

  • Sit-ups, me? Maybe we'll start that right after the strength/resistance work begins in earnest.

You see what I mean, probably, about the temptation to get comfortable with lethargy. The thing is that some months hence while trudging that mid-distance along an arterial highway in the Bordeaux countryside, we both (!) will be asking ourselves the theme-question: How does it feel?

Curiously, it was the notion of being able to change our cabin for that last week yonder, that brought this whole kinda embarrassing business to the surface for me. Another story, another blog. Soon, soon.


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