Profundio del Dia

After crossing the Pyrenees, we deliberately took it slow for the first five days of our walk. Training on the trail, we began to settle into a natural rhythm – wake, pack, walk, breakfast, walk, coffee, walk, lunch, walk, find a bed, wash clothes, nap, dinner, sleep.

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Sometimes, we walked in silence, immersed in our own thinking. Sometimes we’d talk. Early on we’d realized that there were a lot of people walking El Camino sorting out serious life issues, seeking answers. We were out there as part of our transition to ‘retired’, but not dealing with anything particularly heavy. Still expecting some insights, self-discovery, we’d joked about stumbling upon our “Profundio del Dia” – “Depth of the Day” as we went about our walk.

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We met Barb on our first day. She was walking El Camino to shake off some demons, and reboot her life. She holds multiple world records for power lifting – and is quite strong* –  but still struggled with the endurance required for walking uphill.  Since we were going slow, we invited her to hang with us for a few days until she got her trail legs. We’d start off together with a rough idea of where we’d end up for the day, and then meet up along the trail – walking together, yet apart.

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Third day in, our morning coffee stop was at an outdoor cafe. Just as we sat down, a large group of boisterous Spaniards descended upon the courtyard. Whooping and hollering, the men swamped the cafe proprietor, and filled the tables. We finished up, deciding to get on our way to get ahead of their large, loud pack.

We failed.

They were everywhere – yapping on cellphones, singing, talking at extreme volume! They’d fragmented into smaller groups, and we couldn’t get ahead of them all! Destroying any chance of a peaceful, meditative walk, we finally just gave up – stopping in a field, we waited to get the racket ahead of us.

Rolling into our destination village for the day, we spotted another outdoor cafe on the edge of town. And there they were! Over two dozen loud men – singing, hollering, and infesting the entire outdoor area like giant locusts in futbol gear!

daisyfae: If those noisy bastards are staying here tonight? i’ll keep walking! i don’t care how far it is to the next village, i’m not bunking with them tonight!

We decided to at least stop for lunch. Walking into the cafe, we found Barb, already having coffee and a snack.

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Barb: Do you see this group of men?

daisyfae: Oh, hell yeah! We see ’em.

Barb: They saved my life today! i was struggling to get up that last hill, crying. They surrounded me. That one? With the bright yellow shirt? He took my pack and carried it for me. And that one? The older man? He walked beside me, helping me keep my head up to make it easier to breathe. They don’t speak any English, but it didn’t matter! They are amazing.

daisyfae: ….

On this day, Profundio del Dia slapped us both upside the head: One man’s asshole is another man’s savior.

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* Training to lift heavy things does not include any cardio training. In fact, she told us that cardio reduces strength, and when training she would avoid it like the plague! 

Roadtrip Follies – Spring Edition

Speaking of travel disruptions…

i’m curled up in a corner of the Philadelphia International airport. Sitting on hard tile, near an outlet. Backpack serving as backrest.  Tummy has had a couple pints and a snack.  The place is just lousy with people…. People in a hurry.

i will be here awhile.

Left the office mid-day yesterday for an easy trip to the east coast.  Kick off meeting for a new project, i was to be “meat in a seat” – the Management-Like-Object who sends the “Yes, we care enough to send the high level salaried folks” message to our new partners. 

i was in a good mood at the airport, encountering no lines, and had plenty of time before my flight for a change.  Directed to go into the plexiglass “millimeter wave imaging” scanner, i decided to sing “The Stripper Song” and do a little ‘bump and grind’ for the agents about to visualize my lumpy middle-aged bits in a far off room…

The gentleman from the TSA who welcomed me outside the door smiled – saying “We don’t get many folks enjoying the process this much!”

daisyfae [cheerfully]:  It was “the stripper song”… it reduces my stress levels if i’m doing this as performance art, as opposed to being visually raped by strangers!

TSA Man:  Oh, that’s what that was.  Didn’t recognize the song!

daisyfae:  Maybe if i worked on making better trumpet sounds, that would help…

TSA Man:  That opens up too many obvious jokes!  I’ll leave it there!

Refreshing, for some strange reason. 

Had a nice quiet night, ditching my travel mates for dinner, and opting to knock back a couple pints at the hotel bar.  Spent the evening in my jammies, reading a book.  Civilized departure time of 0830 allowed me to even sleep a little later than usual.

Meetings were fine.  Enjoyable, even.  i learned new things.  We even laughed a bit.

It was on the drive back to the airport that we got the “flight cancelled” message via text – and from the backseat i started working travel options from the phone and blackberry-accessible internet. 

We found an alternate airport.  Flight will get us home after midnight.  If it goes.  Had to adjust rental cars a couple of times – as we’ll need a place that stays open late. 

We have another five hours to kill in the airport.

Went for a pint.  Talked with a pleasant couple hoping to get home tonight to the Carolinas… Patient, and delightfully surprised by the extensive beer offerings at the little hole-in-the-wall airport bar.  We chatted while listening to another woman bitch endlessly into her cell phone about the horrors of a travel delay*.

i sit here, with free connectivity to an internet.  i really have no idea how the internet works, yet it allows me to read the newspapers from around the globe – including my hometown.   Allows me to send messages to my family/friends regarding my travel disruption.  Allows me to check the hours of the rental car facility to make sure the lights will be on if when i get there tonight.

As i read about the loss of life in Japan… the continuing uncertainty regarding the status of the nuclear reactors… the stories of those who have lost their homes… i stop feeling the hard tile under my ass.

As i read about the now international civil war in Libya?  i stop worrying about getting off an airplane at midnight and having to drive for an hour to get my car, and then drive another half hour to get home.

As i watch a young couple playing with their four year old son – who is in a wheel chair?  i remember that i need to call my 22 year-old and see how he’s doing.

Bring on the thunderstorms.  i got nothin’…

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* Weather.  Entire east coast/midwest.  Not a fuck of a lot the airlines can do with hail, lightning, snow and big winds, folks…