I’m not John Steinbeck. And Frankie isn’t Charley. Probably the only thing we have in common is that I’m a writer, Frankie is a dog, and we’re heading out in a car together.

Nor am I Jack Kerouac. And Frankie definitely isn’t Dean Moriarty.

I’m a stressed-out middle-aged woman with a small frightened dog and a Hyundai that’s making an odd whistling sound.

Feh on the romance of the road

Don’t get me wrong. I love being in different places. I just hate getting there, and preparing to get there.

As I head out tomorrow for San Diego here are the top ten things I’m currently worried about, in no particular order:

1. That I will run out of interesting listening material

Before I take a long trip, I always go to the library to get books on CD to make the drive pass quickly. This time I couldn’t find anything riveting and it’s Sunday and the library is closed. My choices are an Amish romance novel (long story about why I chose it); a parable about blindness by a Nobel Prize winner; a World War II story (I liked the Navajo code talker angle but it’s still a World War II story); a novel that involves a child molester; and a legal mystery. This last, by Lisa Scottoline, would have been perfect except that I realized that I already listened to it.

2. That I won’t have the right clothes for my book signing in San Diego

I put together something that I thought would look good and then remembered I’m going to be in San Diego, which has different, cooler weather. You’d think that the fact that I opted to do a book signing in a much more temperate city than Tucson would have been on my mind when I was going through my closet.

3. That if I find the right clothes they won’t fit because I’ve been stress eating.

4. That I will be in an accident and no one will know what to do with Frankie when I get sent to the hospital.

This was inspired by a comment that came in this morning on my last post, Five Car Safety Tips. Jodi T. wrote:

I had an accident 2 yrs previous in which my neck was broken. As a result, I had to be taken to hospital, my car left behind. My dog sat in the car, all by herself, in a parking lot beside one of the busiest streets in my city for a few hours! I was able to contact family, but it’s something to think about when you travel with your dog. In an emergency, what about the dog?

Local emergency contacts don’t do much good if you are several hundred miles from home. I have no ideas and it’s making me somewhat hysterical. Thoughts?

5. That people will stop reading my blog because I’m not doing my regular Friday Focus and Training Tuesday features

Though I do have a couple of posts in the hopper, whatever a hopper is. And I promise to take pictures.

6. That the strange whistling noise my Hyundai is making is dangerous.

My friend Gabe says it’s not and he’s a guy, but he doesn’t have a car anymore.

7. That I will have to drive on the L.A. Freeway en route to and from San Barbara

This is an immutable fact, but I’m still worried about it.

8. That Frankie will throw up during the book signing

9. That I will throw up out during the book signing

10. That taking a week off from work will put me horribly behind on my deadlines and I’ll be late with everything and never get more assignments.


22 thoughts on “Travels with Frankie”

  1. U worry to much, this is what will happen:
    1. You’ll find new facts in your listening material that wil enlighten yoy
    2. On the way, you will find a clothes shop that is like made for you
    3. Because you are stressing, you also forget to eat and that keeps your weigth in balance
    4. You will not be in an accident
    5. We are reading your blog more to follow your travel adventures
    6. Hyundai’s are designed to making whistling noises, they are ment to keep you spending money on service
    7. (don’t know what you mean here must be an american thing)
    8. Frankie wil throw up in the car, so he is happy to arrive at the dog signing
    9. So do you
    10. That feeling you also wil have when not leaving for San Diego

    1. That is the nicest, most reassuring comment — not to mention funny. My favorite is #10. You are so right about my deadline worries.

      Let me explain #7. The Los Angeles freeway is notorious for its traffic and for its traffic jams and for its size: It tangles several highways together and you always have to worry about being in the correct lane in order to stay on the highway you need.

      As for #2, there is no shopping between Tucson and San Diego. It is mostly desert, interspersed with convenience stores where you can get very large sodas. But it’s a very nice idea!

      1. P.S. In spite of the fact that it would make the rest of the trip somewhat unpleasant, I love the the idea of pre-emptive car vomiting.

    2. Definitely my favorite reply to a blog post! And, I have to agree with #5. As a fellow worrier Edie, I feel your pain, but you will do fine. You will get there and if you miss your exit, I have a feeling you will handle it better than you ever imagined. I’ve driven in San Fran rush hour – if LA is anything like that then you will survive. πŸ™‚

      1. I used to write a guidebook to San Antonio and Austin for Frommer’s. San Antonio has this horrible ring road and I always missed the exit and would find myself circling the city endlessly. But I survived (although in the beginning I would pull over and cry; once I built in get lost and have a nervous breakdown time, I found I didn’t need it).

        Thank you for feeling my pain. Non worriers don’t understand it’s part of the process.

    1. That’s hysterical about Dean Moriarty. Maybe I should have a “which literary character would your dog be” (or the opposite, i.e., starting as you did with the character and coming up with dog types) contest this summer, following the success of “Which books would bore your dog” contest last year.

      I wasn’t going to out you as the inspiration for my Amish fiction choice. And I still won’t reveal why you are. I’ll just tell people to ask you.

  2. How funny! I’m glad I’m not the only one whose heads spins with extremely random concerns. Re number 4, which is the one I suspect you won’t sleep about, here’s what I’d do: Wherever you’d be taken to a hospital will also be a town large enough to have a dog day care facility. If you don’t have an iPhone (and therefore can’t use any of the handy iPhone apps that do the work for you), figure out where the big hospitals are en route and jot down the name of a dog day care place near them. Pack Frankie’s shot record and write out directions for handling his feeding and shots, and fasten them to his carrier or your purse. That way, even if you’re momentarily down for the count, the caregivers will know the best thing to do with Frankie until you’re on your feet again.

    1. Those are excellent ideas, both scoping the hospital locations and writing out the shot record/schedule. I have a tag saying “I am diabetic” on Frankie’s collar but it didn’t occur to me to indicate exactly when he gets his shots and how much insulin he gets (I won’t make anyone do pee tests though!). I will put it in a plastic case and attach it to my key-ring!

  3. Kenzo certainly knows you!! His response to #10 is spot on.

    As for #4, and I’m not kidding about this, why not put my phone numbers and address in conspicuous places, like taped to the dashboard, in your pocket and adhered to Frankie’s collar. I always put a destination address and phone number on Archie’s collar when we went out of town, or even when he stayed overnight with at a local friend’s house. Never needed it, but it gave me peace of mind.

    OK, I’ll bite (harhar): what’s going on between Eric and the Amish?

    1. I am going to put your contact information on the sheet I type out with Frankie’s info (see my reply to Mary-Alice) — but you won’t be able to rush down to Yuma, say, immediately… Still, I would appreciate it if you’d get down there ASAP and retrieve him, especially if he’s in Yuma (that’s a joke probably on Arizonans would understand).

      You’re going to have to ask Eric (dogspelledforward.com). Or wait until I see you.

  4. OF COURSE I’d rush to Yuma immediately, for Frankie’s sake and for yours. Remember, you went with me to the Mexican hospital when I broke my back in Baja, and what could show more friendship than that? I went to Yuma once to take some foreign students to watch the SD Padres’s spring training. Trust me, I’d get you both out of there as fast as my little car could go!

    1. Well, I was on site in Mexico, so it didn’t show that much dedication.The harder thing was springing you!
      I didn’t realize you had been to Yuma. Taking foreign students to spring training? And here I thought I knew everything about you!

  5. Then don’t go to San Diego. Oh, that’s not an option?! Then I guess all you are going through (or you imagine will happen to you) is worth the trip, or else you never would have scheduled the trip to begin with … right! Or did it just seem that way at the time you scheduled the trip πŸ™‚

    You know, there is the theory that you will attract to you what you believe will happen to you. So start thinking/focusing about all the great people you’ll meet and the wonderful things you’ll experience. Not the stuff that possibly might maybe never in a million years happen to you. And have a fan-freaking-tastic time!!! (BTW, I did like Mary-ALice’s idea.)

    1. There are worriers and there are those who tell the worriers not to worry. It always was that way, I suspect, and always will be.
      I have always worried and never had any of those things I worried about get drawn to me. So I promise not to worry about horrible things happening to you, ok — I don’t want to be blamed ;-).

  6. OMG, why do we wonder that we have neurotic dogs??? LOL Seriously, why? Not that I’m any different … but why would we think that our dogs are not going to pick up on that?

    Not sure why it reminds me of a quote from Noises Off: I’m starting to understand how God felt when he was sitting there all alone in the dark creating the world / How did he feel, Loyd, dear? / Very pleased, he’s taken his Valium.

    I think what we need to do before we do anything else is to calm ourselves down. (I wish I knew how to do that).

    One thing that did help me at times though is prioritizing. What is actually vital and what is not? Bunch of those things on the list are really not the end of the world, including either of you throwing up at the book signing πŸ˜‰ People would surely remember you much longer after that! LOL

    Everything is going to be wonderful, you’ll see!

  7. Everybody has their own process, so I’m not going to tell you not to worry. Some people use worry in such a way as to organize themselves or to figure out how to resolve a problem or figure out which path to take. I’ll only remind you that thoughts lie. You have probably noticed that along the way. The practical advice here has been great, esp Mary-Alice’s. And I like Kenzo’s” opposite thinking” response, enumerated:) Have a great trip, now that you’re prepared!

  8. If only someone were around to pop yummy treats into your mouth when you become afraid.
    I have tons of worries too. Most if not all have never come to pass. Whenever I project into the future it generally has a bad outcome. These are faceless terrors basically. Sounds like you are writing a steven king novel with these terror scripts running around in your head.

    If you think about it, right now you are safe. Not one of these fears have happened. So it sounds like staying in the ” now” in the “moment” actually has a safe outcome.
    In other words if you overdo the present, the future will take care of itself.

    These fears began with a thought from you. You start these fears. You can also stop taking that first thought.

    Next thing to do is to take something each one of us has said and memorize it.

    When you feel overwhelmed you pick one that fits and say ” My friend Rod said to do this. or my friend jana rade, or my friend mary alice said…..

    Finally remember to relax, treat yourself good, dont forget to breath in and breath out.

    Everything is going to turn out fine.

    Well be here when you get back!

  9. #1 I’ve found my Ipod indispensible when it comes to having things to listen to on long (and even short) commutes. You can go online and download everything from audio books to podcasts that cover a multitude of topics.

    #5 You don’t have to worry…there are so many interesting things to read and re-read here on your blog to keep everyone occupied even if you were gone a year. Heck, I’ll probably even end up posting comments to some topics from way back.

    Have a safe trip with Frankie and we’ll be looking forward to new tales of your adventures “on the road” hopefully with a lot of pictures to boot…! πŸ˜€

  10. I totally relate to the worry-when/before-traveling thing. I love being places but getting there is so stressful. Especially for those of us who go through the creative “what ifs…” I attribute that to our writers’ minds. How could we write if we weren’t always thinking “what if?” The trouble happens when that way of thinking creeps into daily life. Still, when you get there it will totally be worth any stressing out, and if you’re like me, the trip back will be easier. Enjoy!

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