One of the relatively minor frustrations about this travel freeze is that as long as we’re in limbo, I feel the only productive use of my time is to research alternate modes of travel or to monitor the current travel updates. It’s a foolish fixation, because I know by now that the other modes of transportation are prohibitively complicated and/or expensive, and there are usually several hours between updates. I spend some of those hours working on my travel journal or updating friends and family about our situation, but I’m doing none of the writing I’d planned to do the second half of this month. Script Frenzy is effectively a wash. My fiction is on hold. I’m not doing much to promote National Nonviolence Week this week (though my sister is trying to take up the slack, and thanks to her for that!). I’m not even reading like I want to. I’m truly adrift.
We writers and academics love to ask each other what books we’d want with us if ever we’re stranded on a desert island, and we love offering clever, literary answers: Jane Austen, Cormac McCarthy, the Oxford English Dictionary, the Dhammapada. But we’re lying to ourselves. I’m marooned in Amsterdam, surrounded by libraries and bookstores and with near-constant access to the Internet, and all I want to read are travel guidebooks, train schedules, or a bright big airport monitor with my flight number and the words “Now boarding.”