One morning, back in DC and needing to get away from the computer, I walked past the Marine Corps War Memorial, through the Arlington National Cemetery, and into the Lincoln Memorial. Just like that. I watched a guy sit on the edge of the Memorial and just take in the sun while all the tourists took pictures of themselves. I took a picture of him. And then on the way back I decided that I knew better than Google Maps and tried to chart a shortcut back home, which was a terrible idea. I ended up crossing a couple of freeways and knew that people were cursing me as the female vagabond wandering the highway that I was.
And then editing started on Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women, and things got a little intense for a while, because I was trying to finish my thesis and lecture at the same time as well as find a daycare for my son, which is horrifyingly expensive. When Andrew came home (from Spanish training at the Foreign Service Institute, in preparation for our move to Nicaragua), I'd pack my laptop and dinner and head across the street to my "office," which was the lobby of a hotel. I felt vaguely guilty for using their Wi-fi, so I bought this hummus salad from time to time at their little restaurant, which had tasty food but was enormously expensive. I'd stay until midnight or so. I met a lot of overly friendly men.
It was kind of annoying, actually, since I'd be trying to read through an essay or write an email and they'd break my concentration. It was kind of insulting too, like "Welp, it's slim pickin's tonight, I guess I'd better hit on the only woman left in the room."
But other times the waiters from the little restaurant would come by with some tasty leftovers or would offer me a rice crispy treat or coffee, and I thought that was nice of them. Only one staff member questioned my presence, but right after he also started making moves, which are easily dissuaded by any mention of a husband. Most of the time, anyway. I still recall the time in Bologna when I went to get tampons and chocolate at the grocery store and the dashing young cashier asked to hook up, and when I told him in halting Italian that I was married, he told me to take off my ring. Flirting with a menstruating married woman buying tampons and chocolate? Sounds like desperation. And now I've learned that hotel lobbies at night are veritable hives of polite desperation.
And then Taylor & Francis offered me an editing job on a 400-page physics textbooks on wave optics, and I couldn't say no (in part because it's my job!), so things got really crazy for a while.
In the end it all got done: the physics book, the editing and final tweaking of Fresh Courage Take, the thesis, the grad lecture, the reading, and I even managed to go to some Zumba classes, where I pretended that I had it all together. And then I went to Bennington and had a fabulous time and learned a lot and enjoyed giving my reading and my lecture and walking up to get a hug from Sven and Victoria and to receive my diploma. And then I came home and crashed like an airplane out of fuel. I was sick for a good week or so.
But now I've got energy again, and there are two Master Zs in the house now. Feels good.