Last week we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary, and this week, my birthday. And next week, we’re off to San Francisco for the Romance Writers of America National Conference.
I’m really glad I bought those airline tickets in February, or else it’s likely we wouldn’t be going at all. I have a kind of draw-the-line mentality, you see. For example, last year we attended the same conference in Dallas. We went for an entire week, and did some sightseeing together before the conference got underway. But this year, we’re only going for four nights, because the hotel rooms are about a hundred dollars a night above what they were in Dallas. So I drew the line—four days, not an entire week.
I had drawn the line about going to California, too, but it would seem I’m going to cross that one. No offence to anyone who lives in that beautiful state. But since I was a little girl and learned of such things, I have been afraid of earthquakes. As a teen and young adult, whenever anyone would mention the possibility of my ever traveling to that state, I would reveal my worst fear: that if I ever did go, they would have the big one.
I know, I know. Go right ahead and tell me I’m a wuss. You won’t get any argument from me. I’m not ashamed to admit that there are things I’m afraid of.
“But Morgan,” some of you who know me quite well through these essays may say, “aren’t you the one who’s always talking about positive thinking, and ‘seeing a thing as it can be, though it is not”? Yes, this is true. That’s me all right.
This leads me to the moment I’ve dreaded these past two years. I must now disclose to you, dear readers, an important and personal detail about Mr. Ashbury.
I love the man. You all know that. We’ve been married for thirty-six years, after all. However, he has a teeny tiny little flaw.
He wants to experience an earthquake.
Yes, he does. And yes, I know how that sounds, because they are deadly acts of nature, not to be coveted at all! But there you have it.
My beloved doesn’t limit his thrill seeking desires to earthquakes, either. Oh, no. He wants to ride out a hurricane, and see a tornado up close and personal, too.
We’ve taken three cruises now, all during hurricane season. The closest we got to a hurricane (much to his eternal disappointment) was sailing behind Ophelia in 2005 from Bermuda to New York City.
On that cruise, while in Bermuda, we took an excursion – a special “cruise into the night life of the Bermuda Triangle” sort of adventure. Yes, we got on a small vessel with people we’d never met before, and sailed in the dark through part of the Bermuda Triangle. Alas, no phenomena were experienced by myself, or (more tragically, in his mind) by Mr. Ashbury. Well, unless you count the fact that my digital camera came back from that small nocturnal voyage taking photos that were only white and blue. No more color, and on our return home, the manufacturer could find no reason for its malfunction, and so we got a new camera.
How well I remember the night we sailed back to New York on the heels of Ophelia. The seas were so high, I stayed in my cabin, as I couldn’t walk the corridors of the ship. Mr. Ashbury said, “I’m going to go out on the bow observation deck. I’ll be back soon.” The bow observation deck was on deck 7, and was outside. That is comparable to the 7th floor of a building for height.
He had said that he would be back soon, but ‘soon’ is such a subjective term, isn’t it? Half an hour went by. And then another. Soon, it was nearing the two hour mark. Finally, the door burst open, and in he strode, windblown and triumphant from his adventure. It seems that in the down trough, as the ship ploughed ever forward, the waves were so high they topped where he stood.
Of course, he couldn’t understand why I was a tad upset by his tardy return. What, he demanded to know, did I think could ever have happened to him? In response, I only asked if he’d ever heard the expression, ‘man overboard’.
He has discussed this pending trip to the Golden State with his coworkers, of course. They’ve all come to the conclusion that’s he’s...um...not all there. “You mean to tell me that you’re hoping for an earthquake?” one of them asked, justifiably appalled. “No,” my beloved replied, “I’m demanding one.”
So you see, my ‘positive think it into existence’ is up against his ‘positive think it into existence’—and I’m worried.