Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patrick's Day 2008

(This post should have gone up back in March. Many thanks are due to Blogger for having a changeable "Post Date" in the Post Options.)

I took a trip up to Naomi's for Saint Patrick's Day this year--or rather, since the day itself falls on a workday, the weekend preceding Saint Patrick's Day. That weekend will now occupy a special place in my memory, for it was a weekend of firsts.

The first first, if you will, was that I had never driven across state lines before, which, in and of itself, is fairly minor. I just haven't taken that many car trips in my life--most of my jaunts have happened since college, and since college ended less than a year ago I haven't had the oppurtunity or motivation to have many of those yet. No longer! I can call myself modestly experienced.

The second first was that I had never driven the Beltway before--mostly at the behest of my father, who feared for my safety. It turned out not to be as bad as I was expecting, although I found myself drained when I reached Naomi's house in New Jersey. My theory is that when I drive on roads I know well, I fall into a sort of alert daze or dreamstate that allows me to relax somewhat but where disasters such as meteors, volcanoes, and oncoming cars will quickly awaken me. As you can imagine, on my first drive east of Washington and north to Baltimore through the Tunnel were not the kind of roads conducive to such hibernation.

The third first was that this is the first real long-distance relationship I have been in. I feel good--calm, relaxed, mellow--about being with Naomi in a way that I haven't felt with other girls. That isn't to say that I don't feel the same passionate emotions that I always have; those are a part of me and I could no more not feel them than I could stop being (ahem) occasionally moody and overly sensitive.

In a sense, driving six hours to see her, over the aforementioned Beltway and state lines, was in many senses a physical realization and affirmation of the importance of this relationship, even in this early stage. It says a lot more than taking a train or a plane or a bus to see someone, to navigate your way to their very door--and it forces you to think about what it means to you, why you're doing it, what the important things are that would cause you to undertake such a journey.

The tangibility of this journey as evidence of my investment and involvement in the relationship is perhaps one of the more gratifying things I have done. I am glad that I will have many more oppurtunities to sense that again, and to gain and grow from it.