I became an adult when I entered the Peace Corps. By that I mean that I ate a whole pizza in a hotel room all by myself.

Let me rewind a bit.

The day before I set off to Zambia, I flew to Philadelphia to meet with the group of volunteers I would be learning, living, and pooping pants with. After a restless night of me staring at the ceiling wondering if I was making the right choice and generally just panicking, I woke up at an ungodly hour in the morning. Let’s just say that that morning I had all of the affability of Lord Voldemort.

I showered and put my pencil skirt and blue button-down on, going through the motions and trying to shove my emotions into a small brown parcel that I would then send off to some unsuspecting stranger who would open it to his or her own doom. I became the emotional uni-bomber.

There were a solid few minutes of panic sweating which drove me to un-tuck my blue button-down blouse from my skirt and which drove my parents into turning the air-conditioning on (a rarity in my household) and which drove everyone into thinking “Rachel is going a bit crazy, but not in the cute, quirky way. More like the ‘Quick! Someone check her closet for bodies’ way”.

My suitcase was too heavy. So heavy in fact that I broke the handle off of it because of its weight. When my dad asked if I needed help getting the green, slightly broken leviathan down the stairs, I told him that I could handle it. And by handle it I mean I pushed it down the stairs (See above, affability of he-shall-not-be-named).

There were the tearful goodbyes to my family, my dogs, and my small hometown. I cried the entire flight until I reached Atlanta for a brief layover. I prayed that no one would flag down the flight attendants and alert them to a slobbering weirdo crying into the window during the flight in between sobs. I’m grateful that no one did. But then again, it probably would be understandable if they did as I was the emotional uni-bomber and Lord Voldemort.

In Atlanta, I felt much better. My blouse was still untucked and my bangs were plastered to my forehead from an unfortunate mixture of panic sweat and window sobbing. In fact, I felt so much better that I decided that I would find myself a Chik-Fil-A and buy myself a lunch.

But that would have been far too simple.

I walked with a group of other travelers. We were swimming up stream like salmon, all set on our destination. It took a while for my fishy little brain to figure out that something was not right. The airport was not allowing travelers past a certain point. We were stuck. Yet, more and more plans dumped off their salmon who would swim up stream just to meet grumpy, hangry, salmon travelers. Like myself. Apparently there was an explosion somewhere in the airport that had caused a power failure.

But that’s not what caused me to start panic sweating yet again.

What caused me to start panic sweating was the realization that the food court that so brightly shined in the airport was no longer serving food because of the power outage. What was I going to do? I needed french fries in the shape of a Cartesian grid. It was my American, salmon traveler, almost Peace Corps volunteer right! I looked around at my fellow salmon travelers and they did not share my same uproar. They were focused on getting to their next terminal or something and panicking because they may be late to a casserole dinner in Ohio with their family or something.

Priorities, people.

In the end, I made to my conference about 2 hours late.

I dropped the green leviathan upon entering the conference room on accident.

I flopped onto a soft, hotel bed.

I ordered a pizza.

I ate the pizza.

I fell asleep.

Welcome to adulthood. It’s greasy and makes you feel a bit bloated 98% of the time.


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