Last night I dreamed that I got up nice and early, drove to the airport in plenty of time to make my 10 am flight, and was strolling toward security when I suddenly realized: I had forgotten to pack my suitcase. I had put my pashmina in it, but nothing else. So there I was approaching the security line and thinking: It's okay, I'll just buy everything when I get there. But I have nothing! I realized. No shoes, no underwear, nothing. I can't go to California with absolutely nothing. I don't have the time or money to buy a whole wardrobe for five days. I have to go back home and get clothes, even though it's going to make it really hard to make the flight.
So I went back out to the parking lot, but my car didn't seem to be where I had left it. I'm walking around in the parking lot looking for my car, getting more and more frantic as I realize there's no way this is going to work out. And I wake up.
This dream has a simple meaning. I'm going to San Diego in the morning, and I'm anxious about it. Will I leave in time, will I remember everything, what will go wrong? Traveling stress-free, for me, is getting all that anxiety out in the open ahead of time. That makes me over-prepare and triple-check everything. When I actually leave, so the theory goes, I have no worries because I've got a big built-in safety net.
Well, not exactly. But I'm usually able to let go of my need to control everything once I get to the airport. After that, it's all out of my hands, and I'm just along for the ride. In this case, I'm along for the ride to the American Academy of Religion annual meeting, preceded by the day-long Board of Directors meeting (my first), highlighted by a presentation to the Society of Biblical Literature on recent portrayals of biblical women on film, and culminating in a visit to the Dead Sea Scrolls at the San Diego Natural History Museum. If I prepare correctly and keep the stress under control, it's going to be an excellent trip.
Tomorrow I'll return to your questions, so if you've got any more, fire away. See you on the West Coast.