A couple weeks ago, Trish took the kids to Wichita for a weekend and left me home alone. And, no, I’m not talking about my lonely Christmas. This was a few weeks after that.
It was on the calendar as an opportunity for me to get some work. I tend to do that when Trish takes the kids away, whether it’s for the night or for a whole weekend. This time, I had two things on the schedule:
- Pick up my friend Dan from the airport Saturday morning
- And meet with my publication team all day Saturday to develop a publishing process
That left my free Saturday pretty booked up…but my Friday night was wide open. I was getting toward the end of my work day when I got a text message from Dan, who was at a convention in Las Vegas. It read:
Dude, hop a plane to Vegas tonight. I have a plan and need a grease man.
I laughed because, y’know, “hopping a plane to Vegas” isn’t the sort of thing I do. I sent him back my obligatory “lol,” then I packed up my stuff, headed out to my car, and pointed my way home while I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my evening.
Just then, a big ol’ Boeing took off right in front of me, curled gracefully through the air, and pushed its way out west. It wasn’t such a surprising sight — as I’ve said before, I write documentation for the FAA, which puts my workplace half a mile from the Will Rogers International Airport.
So while I watched that plane take off and wondered what I was going to do for dinner…I couldn’t help thinking, “Why not?”
I’d dropped him off for his flight out Wednesday, so I had a good guess there might be another going out in about half an hour. I popped over to the airport, pulled into the overnight parking, and headed toward the terminal to see how much this was going to cost.
Halfway to the door, I thought to call Dan. He picked up on the third ring, and said, “What?”
I asked, “How serious were you?”
“About robbing a casino and needing an accomplice?” he said. “None. None serious.”
“Well,” I said, “I was just thinking…I’d need to find out how much it costs to pick up a ticket last-minute, but I could come over for the evening, crash in your room tonight, and we could fly back tomorrow morning.”
He laughed, and it’s no surprise. Like I said, I’m not the adventurous sort. My night was wide open, though, and with all the crazy things I’m doing in my life these days (by which I mean “The Consortium”), hopping a plane to Vegas seemed almost reasonable.
He popped my bubble with one small correction, though. “I’m not flying back in the morning. I come back at nine tomorrow night.”
I stopped where I was, ten feet from the door to the airport. Couldn’t make it. I had an all-day publishing meeting scheduled for tomorrow. And then, standing there, I finally stopped to think through how much it would really cost. I couldn’t afford that! And how much hassle it would be to fly out tonight and fly back tomorrow.
And, really, how much would I get out of the trip? One evening in Vegas? I’d either get one really expensive dinner and then spend the rest of my time there sleeping, or I’d be absolutely wiped out for the next week. I’m not as young as I used to be.
So I turned around, went back to my car, and headed home. I watched the clock tick over, watched it pass the time I knew the plane would be taking off, and felt a deep sense of regret that I hadn’t at least gone those last ten feet and asked.
It’s kind of a sad story. It’s a missed opportunity. But it’s also fun in ways, because I really was that close to having an adventure, and until Dan told me it wouldn’t work, I barely even hesitated.
More than that…my all-day Saturday meeting was a blast. I worked with four amazing artists and we came up with a plan, we accomplished real things and set even bigger things in motion. It sounds like a downer ending — skipping the overnight jaunt to Vegas to spend a Saturday in work meetings — but it’s so much better than that.
My life is an adventure now. My new job’s boring old demands feel a lot more like a party, and my coworkers are some incredible new friends.
I’m playing against type. My life has become surprising, in every way, and I absolutely love it.