I booked a trip to Florence, Italy, today. My visit is in August. I am going alone. This has both pluses and minuses. I am the minus.
I once drove to Scottsdale, AZ, from Los Angeles. I got so bored I slept over and returned home; eight hours each way. I didn’t even shop.
I flew to London when I was eighteen. I got so homesick I came right back. I’ve driven many places, only to come right back home. I wonder why.
Part of it is I don’t want to be alone, with my thoughts. This is why I always turn on news radio. Do they have news radio in Florence, Italy? Will I understand it? I read. I watch TV, anything not to think. I try to meditate, but I start thinking.
Part is missing my animals and feeling terribly guilty, how I left them with a sitter that comes for a few minutes each day. Of course, I didn’t have pets when I drove to Scottsdale, but whatever.
Two years ago, my then boyfriend and I booked a trip to Barcelona. Spain. A week before takeoff, I cancelled. The only thing worse than being alone, 24/7, was the thought of being with him 24/7. Aaaargh!
I have a strange body clock. I like sleeping until nine am and going to bed at one am. Most people want to get up and carpe diem, but not me. I can carpe in the afternoon just as well. Except in Italy, where the shops close in the afternoon, my peak shopping hours. What do I do?
I get homesick a great deal. Mom sent me away whenever she could; boarding school, camp and so forth. When third grade ended, early, at my private school, she stuck me in public school for another month. This solved her child-care dilemma, I suppose, but it sucked and made me feel bad. Maybe these are the feelings I dredge into my subconscious, when I go away.
When I first moved back to New York from LA, in 2004, I was so homesick I was going back to LA every month. Then it was every year. Last week, I went back to LA and realized it had been three years since my previous visit. I mulled moving back to La, but, as the days passed, I realized how lonely and exiled I’d felt out west. Moreover, gas for my care is over a buck higher out there.
I said there were positive things about the trip to Florence. First, it’s Florence, Italy. There’s nice art and it’s cute. I booked a nice hotel, where I can watch television all night if I choose. No one will be suggesting stuff like going to clubs and getting drunk. I can get drunk in my hotel.
I’m trying to think of other positives. I’ll get some walking done. I have an app on my iPhone that translates. I have trip insurance, just in case. There will be great food.
When I was in LA, two weeks ago, it was the first time I bought car rental insurance. Last trip, someone scraped me, but I was able to cover it up with silver nail polish. This time I was playing it safe. Those $1000 deductibles hurt. No one is getting any younger.
I’ll probably make friends in Italy, out of desperation. I used to be shy, but now I’m one of those women who chats people up. I expect someone will speak English.
Then there are those annoying thoughts. What am I doing with my life? Where should I live? Should I sell my place or stay put? What happens when my savings run out? If my savings are running out, why did I just book a trip to Florence? What happens, if while I’m in Florence, Italy, I have an urge for Indian Food? Will men try to pinch me? I’m still hot, after all.
The other part is my mother. Her voice is usually louder. “I cannot believe you are going to Florence! I just paid your tax bill! Cancel this minute! You’ve already been to Florence.” Yeah, but it was in 1985 when I took my honeymoon alone because my husband preferred stuffing coke up his nose. Moreover, it was a tour where you saw a different city each day. I don’t remember one thing about it, except I got lost in Florence in three-inch heels, but not this time. If I get lost, it’ll be in Nikes.
Wish me luck. I will report on my travels. Meanwhile, I’m glad that I have a Valium prescription, in case I freak out. There’s always vino. Sigh.
Wendy Vega ran the board for radio legends "Cousin Brucie" and Dan Ingram, at WABC-AM, and Zacherle at WPLJ-FM, all in New York City. At WNEW-AM, Jonathan Schwartz stole her lunch and she became great friends with the legend of radio legends, William B Williams. Then Vega moved to news, first WINS-AM 1010, in New York City, later television stations in Los Angeles. Today, she is a former television news editor replaced by a machine. She's a writer living near the train station in Larchmont, New York. Joan Rivers came from Larchmont, NY. Maybe the same fate will befall Vega as befell Rivers. Watch this space.
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