The trip here was almost uneventful. We were five minutes away from the airport when Peach got carsick and gave back all the oatmeal we had given her for breakfast. We went ahead and parked in long-term parking, then stood her up in the trunk of the car, stripped her down, cleaned her off, cleaned off her car seat, put clean clothes on her, and sealed her dirty clothes hermetically in a Ziploc bag. Once we got on the shuttle to the airport, I called our pediatrician to ask whether I could give Peach Dramamine, and how much. This necessitated explaining the situation to the receptionist at the doctor’s office, and again to the nurse. The other passengers on the shuttle were trying hard to be polite, but they were clearly thinking, “Please let those people not be on my flight.” However, the rest of the trip was without incident.
In defiance of all known laws of the universe, Oregon – or at least this corner of it – is almost exactly as I remember it from my childhood: everything is green and beautiful, and everyone here loves me. If anything, it seems to have gotten better with time; I now notice that it smells nice, and the air quality is great. And whatever I’m allergic to at home, it must be something indigenous to the place I live, because in spite of all the pollen and whatnot that must surely be in the air here, my hay fever is totally dormant. There are actually birds and squirrels frolicking amongst the trees outside, as if I’ve somehow been transported onto the set of an old Disney cartoon. (Fortunately, the animals have not yet burst into song.) The best part, though, is that I feel like I have no responsibilities when I’m here. Conference papers and theses seem unreal, like things remembered vaguely from a sinister dream. Reality is that as long as Link and Peach don’t get lost or step on the dog, my work is done.
For those of you playing along at home, the title of this post is from the Joni Mitchell song "Free Man in Paris." The complete line is, "I was a free man in Paris/ I felt unfettered and alive."