I took the last week off, catching up on movies and books, indulging in some wonderful meals, here and elsewhere, enjoying long walks and the requisite vacation napping. I left the sharpened pencils and blank paper just like that, sharpened and blank. But while I was following the trail of Lenu and Lina through Naples, while Rey was battling The First Order, while I was browning chicken for a tangine, an idea for a new writing project was taking shape. I didn't want to jinx it by putting anything down on paper too soon--OK, I was also feeling I deserved a week "off" from writing--so I held it in, held it back, moved it around, tried out phrases, created scenes, all, of course, in my head.
And then Monday arrived. First, a walk: clear the head, get the blood flowing. It's the coldest morning so far, well below freezing, so I put on several layers, find my winter hat, velcro my jacket cuffs over my mittens, snap on my fanny pack, and set out. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself, walking briskly and looking forward to the writing ahead, when I notice that the front pocket of my fanny pack is open. And empty. That's the pocket where the key goes. The key that lets me back into the house to strip off my hat and mittens and jacket and get to my writing.
The forgotten key is not a disaster. We do have a hidden key. Unfortunately, the hidden key is locked away. It's locked away in this small box that's mounted on the very darkest corner of the garage. And in this very darkest corner you have to punch in the numbers of a code to get the key.
There are several problems with this. The first is the very-darkest-corner-of-the-garage thing. And I'm wearing those sunglasses that get darker when exposed to light. I didn't think there was much light to expose them to today, but evidently there's enough, because when I get home and into the garage, I can't see much of anything. And if you have these glasses you know that although they darken pretty quickly, they take forever to lighten up again.
Again, not a disaster, because while I am standing in the dark garage waiting for them to lighten I can try to remember the code. With all those passwords for banks and airlines and stores and even my doctor, there are too many numbers swimming around in my head. Did you know that I have one password for iTunes and a different one for Apple? Why? Or that Amtrak and Amtrak Guest Rewards require different passwords? My husband is a number person, he has no trouble remembering the password to our hidden key, but me, I'm having the tiniest bit of doubt here.
When my glasses lighten enough to see, just barely, I try my anniversary. No. I try a combination of our kids' birthdays. No. Maybe I'm being a tad sentimental here: I try my zip code.
Bingo. I'm in.
It's only after I spend a few minutes relishing my victory, after I've let myself into the house and replaced the key in its hiding place and unbuttoned and unzipped and slapped my hands together to warm them, after I make myself a fresh cup of coffee and sit down with the sharpened pencils and blank paper, only then that I think about leaving the key home. About locking myself out on a day that I wanted to start my new work.
And I take a deep breath, a gulp of coffee, and I start.