Update: for another great Mercury retrograde story with a hilarious, wondrous ending, see this. And friend Stephanie told me her story: of going to Chicago, where her cell phone didn’t work. Was supposed to meet a friend using cell to set time and place. Instead, her seat mate on the bus not only lent her his cell phone, but he personally escorted her to where she wanted to go. Hmmm. Seems like “the universe” is utilizing this Mercury retrograde period for a spell of divine humor. And always, the lesson seems to be trust. Trust the universe; trust the people around you. You are not alone. You don’t have to figure out evcerything on your own! We are all connected.
Home again, from two weeks in Seattle/Portland and Los Angeles/Santa Monica/San Diego. Surprised I’m still intact. During especially the second week of the trip — which churned by too fast and furious to blog — things were flying off me and to me in the midst of a whirlwind of time and space snafus while getting used to two rental cars (one in Washington, one in California) while remaining determinedly focused on staying in the correct lane out of eight lanes while trying to read signs speeding by in time to change lanes to exit, all the while trying to figure out how my iPhone app works to get me from the promised point A to point B.
Mercury goes retrograde three times per year, for three weeks each time. During this time, expect snafus in both travel and communication. Of course my trip, filled with, not only miscommunication and no communication with my Dad, but unusually complex logistics during the second week, occurred during a mercury retrograde period. Mercury returns to direct motion August 8.
Here’s a record of my mercury retrograde:
Day 1: Rental Car Snafu
Just landed in Seattle, on shuttle to rental car place. Oops! I forgot to bring the documentation! Actually, I brought the wrong documentation: grabbing my plane docs, I thought the papers under it were for the rental. Nope. I had grabbed “How to grow blueberries.”
Okay, Which brand? Avis? Budget? Hertz? or any of seven others? I booked this trip months ago, and while my iPhone may have a record of it on email I have no idea how to back up that far to find it.
I stand in line. First the Avis line. Then the Budget line. Then the Hertz line. Each one takes 10-15 minutes before I see an agent who tells me there is no record for “Kreilkamp.” And to book a car that day would be $65/day! Oops! Can’t do it over. Need to find the original booking.
I look at the other rental possibilities Some brands I dismiss out of hand, since I’ve never used them. Then. . .
Aha! Maybe this giant building has wi-fi? It does! I log on to my computer. Search back emails. Yes, THERE IT IS, FOX! Fox? I’ve never heard of it. But it’s in the building, and I’m home free.
Day 9, Disappeared Stuff
I don’t usually buy clothes new, preferring Good Will and swaps. But I’d been thinking about getting a flowery orange tunic that I saw on a rack in a store near Mount Saint Vincent on one of my forays out during my four-day stint with the folks.
I didn’t want to buy it “on impulse,” so I waited, to see if it still stayed with me as a desire. It did. What a wonderful way to see in my niece Bridget’s wedding and reception in California two days hence!. I’ll just get it, and pick out a pair of slacks and a scarf to go with.
Okay! Done! Not too expensive ($115 total). And I had fun with the clerk. And it’s the kind of outfit that will last for years. I actually feel a bit proud of myself. (When I was a kid and Mom would take me into stores to “try things on,” I would get an instant headache. Just wasn’t into “the outside.” Wondered why everybody seemed to value the outside more than the inside. Later, when I started the magazine Crone Chronicles, one of my definitions for Cronewas “she who lives from the inside out.”)
I go to the car, put the colorful package in the back seat with my luggage. Go to a nearby park and take a few shots of the ocean and forest while walking.
By the time I got back to the car, I was in an altered state, utterly at one with the world, and ready to take on I-5 to Portland and a hastily arranged overnight visit with friend Clarissa.
The next morning, I go out to the car with my overnight bag, thinking to bring in my new “outfit” to show Clarissa. Oops. Not there. Gone. Disappeared. Stolen? But I know I locked the car. (Or did I?) And if it was stolen, why didn’t whoever it was take the computer?
Needless to say, this mystery left me somewhat rattled. And I find it especially interesting that it happened to “stuff” that I felt “proud” about, even, yes, attached to, because of the pride. Meanwhile, on this trip I had been offering perspective to all and sundry on the events of this time, telling people that we need to learn to “pivot on point,” integrate shock as time accelerates by letting go of all expectations, attachments. . .
I still have no idea what happened to my new outfit.
Day Ten, another rental car snafu: Arrive LAX. Get rental car, a big one, thinking I’d be transporting lots of people to the wedding. Fox again.
Terrified of driving on Los Angeles freeways. I do it anyway, and do okay, with my iPhone app now a trusty guide. Luckily, the house six of us have rented is not far away. Just take Lincoln Street to California and turn right, then left on Beethoven Street, about 13 minutes. Oops! I discover that a niece and her husband have driven from Reno, so no need for such a big car. (I hate big cars. Besides the gas, they’re hard to park, and feel clumsy.)
The next day, before the 4 p.m. wedding, we go to Venice Beach, to see the sights.
Back at our rented house, sisters Kathy and Mary ply me with clothes and jewelry from their luggage, not just for the wedding, but for daily life. (And, except for the earrings, they insist that I keep them!)
Instantly, each item becomes my favorite, and I like my wedding outfit at least as much as the one which was lost? stolen? teleported elsewhere?
The next day, my son Sean, his wife Sue, and grandkids Kiera and Drew and I all go out to the Getty Center, to see the traveling Gustav Klimt exhibit, But really, I realized once we arrived, just to experience the architecture! I took at least 100 pictures out there, but will spare you most of them. It’s an extraordinary place, “free to the public,” but built on the backs of peasants whose lands were confiscated for oil.
Hard not to notice the contradictions. My brother-in-law John and I compare notes. Just how evil is it? And then we let go and enjoy the glorious day in this glorious human creation that blends art with nature just as Chihuly did, and like Chihuly, required an enormous ego to boost it into being.
As the tour wound down, we were all a bit pooped.
Day 13: Radical change in plans
During the days that surrounded the wedding, various family groupings (six of us siblings and spouses were present, plus assorted nieces, nephews and old friends) would agree to meet somewhere for dinner and these plans would form and reform, firm schedules dissolving into dust, only to be replaced by other people, timing, and locations. Each day we would wonder, who is really coming for dinner? Everybody was fluid, in motion, flowing with change. Even so, not one dinner held less than a dozen people!
But on the last day in Los Angeles, it became, not just who’s coming for dinner, but what am I going to do during the final two days of my trip!
I had planned on seeing my old friends Dick and Judy (Dick had been my high school boyfriend and second husband in my 30s) in Oceanside, and had booked my return trip from Orange County Airport rather than LAX for this reason. But, on Sunday morning, the day I was to drive down to Oceanside, an early phone call startles me awake:
“Annie! We were so looking forward to being with you today and tomorrow. However, this morning we both woke up with the flu. Vomiting. The same thing our grandkids had. You’re welcome to come anyway . . .”
Wow, talk about a pivot point! And talk about an attachment that I didn’t know I had. I had really been looking forward to our meeting also. It was to be a welcome finale to this madcap trip. Okay. Here we go again. The pivot point. Now what?
Well, it turns out that Sean and Sue were going to be in the area also for the next two days, and that, oddly enough, we were all due to fly out Tuesday morning. Sue made a call to their motel in San Diego. Yes, we could change to a bigger room with a fold-out couch for me, only $20 extra per night.
Okay! So we spent the day at the Santa Monica beach, including a two-hour bike ride that put me into an altered state again, this time, not because of how the forest greeted the ocean, but because I finally grokked the magic of southern California, after kvetching about its car culture.
I got it, I got it. It’s the people, the teeming masses of humanity, all colors, all languages, all in the sun, and surf, and sand, all happy, and smiling, and passing each other with good-natured greetings and apologies (for getting in the way), and so on. Mile after mile of people watching and mingling as we rode the boardwalk of the beach.
And the sand, so much sand, so deep, such a long, wide beach, and guess what, Nobel Prize Winner Elinor Ostrom is right, the so-called “tragedy of the commons” is false; people will keep the commons safe and protected, when they identify with it. That sand, mile after mile of it, was clean, cared for, not littered. It reminded me of Yellowstone, where the same thing holds. People do not litter Yellowstone. It means too much to them.
Day 13: Lost computer!
So. We got in the two rental cars about six o’clock that evening and agreed to meet halfway to San Diego, for dinner. And it’s then when I got my final lesson in attachment, in my own pretensions of detachment. When I got out of the car to go in for dinner my computer was not in the car. Not anywhere in the car. Not in the trunk. Not in the back seat, not on the floor.
I went into shock. Looking back, this experience reminds me of when my husband Jeff died, and my trip back to Massachusetts to see Sean and Sue soon after. How shocky I was the whole time there with them. How nervous, rigid, stilted, whacky my behavior. how patient they were with me then. So too, here.
Sean suggested I call my brother-in-law to get the number for the rental agent, who agreed to look for the computer in the house the next morning. Then Sue suggested I call Gil, a dear son of my old friend Nancy, who just happened to have eaten with us at one of our surprising, quickly formed dinner parties, and who lived in the area. Yes! He would pick it up and Fed Ex it that day.
That’s this computer. I got it back this afternoon.
Day 14: cell phone snafu
The final Mercury retrograde episode occurred when the plane landed in Indy. The plan was for me to call Jim, who was taking care of Shadow in my absence, and who would pick me up in my car. But the number I had for him was wrong! Now what? I called my son Colin. Did he have Jim’s number? No. Colin suggested I get a cab out to the “cell phone lot” where Colin had told Jim to wait until I called him. Instantly, I thought no. What if Jim had started in to the “Arrival” area when I didn’t call, looking for me?
And you know, that’s exactly what happened. As I was on the phone with Colin, here comes this black Prius down the ramp to the Arrival area, and yes, it was mine.
One final note: Jim had forgotten his cell phone, so there was no way I could have called him even if I had the right number. He was doing what we all used to do, circling the airport until I came out the door.
In retrospect, what I notice about all these snafus is how they all not only resolved so suddenly, usually with the help of family and friends, but that they actually ended up being little miracles in their own right, despite Mercury retrograde.
I lost the new clothes, but I got some more clothes that are even more fitting for me.
I lost the trip to see Dick and Judy, but found another two days with Sean and Sue and my grandkids; we got to ride bikes on the beach, I got to have my epiphany, and, oh yes, I forgot to mention that the next day the five of us visited the Natural History Museum in San Diego and not only did we enjoy an interactive exhibit on class relations during the final voyage and sinking of the Titanic (where each of us drew a card that identified us as a passenger, Drew in first class, Sean, Sue and Kiera in second class, me in steerage), but we got to experience the power and grace and beauty of the extraordinary horse pictures of Robert Vavra, a photographer I had never heard of until that day.
Finally, the cell phone snafu is interesting in that both my “mistake” (the wrong number) and Jim’s (the forgotten cell phone) cancelled each other out and ushered in the welcome sight of a little black Prius with my puppy Shadow inside rolling down the ramp.