The camera takes a first exposure of your physical self and a second of your energetic overlay.
"Will you friggin' come on?" I hiss at my boyfriend, Ike, as we attempt to actually get out the door at a reasonable time. We're always late. Always rushing. No matter how early we get up. This time, three hours before our departure.
Ike's been searching the house for something for the past hour as I try to finish a story on deadline, walk Miles before he explodes and "pick up the house" because I hate coming back to hot mess.
"What the heck are you looking for?" I ask finally, hoping it's not what I think it is.
"My passport. I can't find it anywhere." Ugh, I think to myself. Why, oh, why does this always happen to us? In the spirit of unity, instead of scolding, I help him scour. I silently chew on all the reprimands that pop up in my head: Why are we even looking for your passport to go to New York, which last time I checked was in the United States of America? Oh, right, because you still haven't gone down to the DMV to get a new license. If I miss the ballet because of you, I will explode!
It's a good thing I kept my big mouth shut because guess where Ike's passport was? In his cargo shorts. The ones I'd washed the night before.
Thankfully, the pages just look a bit wizened, as if he's been backpacking for the last decade. And because he's awesome, Ike doesn't get mad.
"It sorta looks cool now," he says before we give Miles one last pet and head for the door.
According to my iPhone, we've got three minutes to hop the metro bus to Union Station. The stop is right around the corner, but we sprint like 20-year-olds anyway. Just as we pull up to catch our breath the bus speeds past us. I routinely feel bad for those poor losers chasing after the bus. Now I'm one of them. Miraculously the bus stops a block away just for us and we sprint again, this time like the 30-somethings we are.
Once we get to Union Station to catch "the Chinatown" to Manhattan, we immediately head in separate directions. In the hopes of avoiding the very chaos now on display I'd purchased a ticket weeks before on Boltbus so that I could FINALLY see ABT soloist, Misty Copeland, dance. When Ike decided to join me, Boltbus had already sold out, so he was traveling at the same time but with a different bus company.
"That is so dumb," I pointed out constructively the night before. He agreed, so we decided that we'd try to ride standby together. I mean how many people would be going to Manhattan on Halloween weekend?
We ran up to our respective lines on opposite sides of the parking lot just when primary boarding was finishing up. The plan was to count how many seats were left on each of our buses, subtract that from the number of folks in line, then call the other person if there was room, have that person run across the parking lot and right into the other's arms. It would be very romantic despite all the math involved.
As Mary discovered millenia before, there was no room at the inn for Ike on my bus. Also there were no bars on my phone. I could see him from my window across the lot and waved frantically to get his attention. He did the international hand sign for, "There's room over here. Hurry up! So that we can be together and in love," so I grabbed my stuff and ran over.
Because he's amazing, Ike hands me his confirmed ticket so that I can get on the bus no problem while he stands in the reject line. "There's plenty of room," Ike reassures me. "I'll be right behind you."
I grab us seats near a back window so I can keep my eyes on him. He's chatting amiably with someone who looks official. We did it! I high-five myself on the inside. Then the bus starts up and we slowly pull away from the lot.
Frantic, I watch as Ike waves sheepishly from where he's standing on the outside looking in. Turns out all those empty seats are for the passengers the bus is picking up in Baltimore. So after all that foolishness, we're still riding separately and now Ike doesn't even have a ticket. I growl at the empty seat next to me and send him a series of bratty texts. The last one reads, "Mercury is definitely in fucking retrograde." Then we got stuck in traffic for three hours.
I never believed in it before, but after a solid three weeks of miscommunication, screwed up travel plans and overall "offness," I am now a convert. A planet was conspiring against me and all I could do was deal.
Mercury -- the smallest and closest planet to the sun according to Wikipedia -- rules memory, communication, commerce, computers, telephones, transportation and air travel. Already I'd misread emails, handed in assignments completely wrong and shown up to meetings without the paperwork I was clearly supposed to have had.
"I obviously need to learn to read," I told one woman in charge and she laughed, knowingly. Ike and I had gotten into silly fights over nothing and my best friend "forgot" I was staying with her one weekend and went out of town. Life was like finger nails on a chalkboard.
Only now am I finally getting my sea legs. I was so freaked out about how much the cosmos was sticking its collective nose into my business that I waited to sign some contracts, lest I really screw something up. When I told Ike this, he remained slightly skeptical but never questioned my wisdom outright. Why fight it?