At 8.15 on a beautiful, sunny, (oh alright, slightly overcast, but still beautiful) San Francisco Bay Area morning, the same train as wed hopped onto exactly two weeks before slid into the station across the bay from our our home in San Francisco, and we, slightly tired, and very travelled, fell off it. And, through some complex taxiesque rush-hour magic, got home, where the cats chided us for about three minutes, then went completely back to normal.
It has been a very odd, very enjoyable, very weird couple of weeks. And I look forward to writing lots and lots about it, but right now, I have done a first set of laundry, waved my beloved off on a flight to London (slight snafu with the planning, there), put more laundry on, hoovered a thick covering of cat hair off every hair-adhesive surface (all of them, apparently) and trying to get all my thoughts in order.
Meanwhile, people are receiving their cards – I know because some people are telling me on twitter, some are sending me pictures, some are blogging about them, and all of these things are lovely.
I havent really decided what next, really. I had a bit of a worry while on the way, and suddenly felt like a was doing everything precisely the wrong way around: that I was bothering everyone by sending them the dull minutiae rather than distilling the most interesting stories into things I could relate on a blog or over a pub table. And as such, I felt bad about the person that was getting a note about the quality of dinner rolls in the dining car, compared to the one who was getting one about an actual train crash. And I found myself feeling like I had to write more and more to compensate for disappointment from people who didnt they feel they were getting value for money and
Well, its a learning process. I have a list of things I know for next time, which include a) Its impossible to use the bouncy flip-down lap table in coach class for anything as productive as writing by hand, so scale-wise, I have to cut back, and not have another thing (that has to take priority, as its for money) to do at the same time although that was the main point of the trip or just be content with maybe confusing a few people and feeling ok about the original plan of sending snatches of notes and overheard things and vignettes without necessarily worrying about contextualising.
I worried a lot about this. But then, I had a lot of time for worrying. And general thinking. And talking, and looking out of the window and sleeping.
So somewhere down the line, when I was trying to write, illustrate (or have illustrated, My Beloved lent his art skillz to many of them) stamp and tagline them all before leaving a place where I knew there was a mail box, I forgot the fifth and sixth stages: numbering and photographing them all. I think the last one I put a number on was about 93, but that was 50-70 postcards ago, and I dont know which was which. Or what they said. Or what many of them were about. Or whether they made any sense.
Also: I am not at all confident of the postal system out of Glacier Park, especially with the blizzarding and the hotel closing for the season, so when someone gets something postmarked from there, I will be glad to hear it.
I dont know what the plan is now. Ill be posting various bits that needed more length to explain, and – along with getting that other work I mentioned done – collecting together peoples photos and nice pictures of what the hell I actually wrote and things, and writing lots of other things that occurred to me on the way, and just hoping that people receive something, because I was so desperate not to let anyone down, and that theyre not too let down when they do.
We have had, it is safe to say, a wonderful, bizarre, brilliant, exciting, boring, tiring, relaxing, exhilarating, mind-crushingly-dull, happy, anxious, comfortable, uncomfortable, interesting, beautiful, meaningful and hilarious couple of weeks. Im a bit tired right now, so its not time to break the whole idea down quite yet. Just enough to worry a bit more, apparently.
I dont want to make it sound like this was NOT My Brilliant Idea, by the way. It was just My Brilliant Idea: Stage I, and there are lots of lessons I want to learn for the next time I do it. And there will be a next time.
But weve travelled more than 7000 miles and spent more than well, quite a lot of hours on trains. Ive lost track. And when I say lost track, I mean it literally: I worked out all these things in sums on the front of someones postcard, forgot to take a picture of it, or a note elsewhere, then sent it.
Which, again, was kind of the idea, I suppose. But still.
It was a very long way. And lots of hours. And there are a LOT of things I have to tell you about.
Just you wait.
In the meantime, here is a photobooth strip (I told you about my vintage photobooth obsession, right? Well, sites like photobooth.net and their locator helped out with that element of the trip) that goes down as my favourite of all time, now.
Basically, its mainly because of My Beloveds facial expression in the first one, and then the disintegration in the second one one we had been flashed by the worlds most angrily bright flash but just to prove I was not as worrity as I sound in this post:
Also, I bought some other stuff from a shop I found in Seattle while looking up antique photo booth locations. I came away with some things that may not exactly be described as essential purchases, but that will almost certainly be making an appearance at important family and social events from now on.
HTML geeks among you might be amused to hear that the first time I tried to type the first tag on that picture, I typed canter, rather than center.
No, youre right, its not funny not matter who you are.
Oh goodness me, Im very tired (think well for My Beloved, who has not yet arrived in London as I type this). I am home, though. I can recommend the train. With reservations.
A ha ha haha. That was a joke. Reservations.