The night before I travel, I often sit up later than I mean to, or than I need to. Tonight, I'm largely packed (but for the dresses air drying in the bathroom and the toiletries I'll use in the morning), and I've narrowed down my choice of books for my days away. Do I take Writing Down the Bones? Spell of the Sensuous? The Righteous Mind, which several of my friends have told me is among their favorite books ever? Do I scrap them all and just take Angle of Repose and The Tie That Binds, in keeping with my new love of Stegner and Haruf? Do I take the book I need to review? Do I take The Orphan Master's Son and check out what the Pulitzer people saw this year?
Somewhat strangely, I find myself thinking about rereading Cloud Atlas--only to realize that the copy I read last fall is still at the monastery, with a friend, and that it was a duplicate copy and I have no idea where in Ohio my original copy might be. In a basement, obviously. But which one?
The upshot of some of these questions is that I find myself tempted to drive to the airport in the morning instead of taking the bus and then the other bus. Only one of these is an environmentally responsible choice. The other one would let me leave 45 minutes later (which feels like a lot at 6 a.m.). But the correct choice is no real skin off my back, as long as I stop the madness and actually go to bed.
One reason to take all the books is that air travel has a timespan all its own. Anything can happen in that long then.