A few years back, when every day at my restaurant seemed like one of the less coherent scenes from a David Lynch movie and I knew the end was inevitable, I very often had the urge to run.
As far and as fast as I could.
I hated every minute of my life at that point, especially the minutes where I wasn't functioning through a wine-addled haze. I had pretty much given up caring about the business, and being marginally or wholly drunk most of the time seemed like the best solution for all involved. I had come to terms with the fact that there was nothing I could do to save it, so I decided to just ride the party bus out until the end, along with my wonderful, devoted, amazing staff.
But almost every day I considered it. Running.
Away. Run. Away.
And, not just running away in the sense of locking the doors to the place, going home, curling up in the fetal position and turning my phone off while I planned my new career path as night manager at the local 24-hour Kielbasa shop.
I mean running away in the purest physical sense. The climbing out the window while the parents are sleeping and becoming a professional groupie sort of running away. I would return many years later as a highly successful abstract art dealer, with my Brazilian lover Miguel and our love child, Tempesta, in tow. At least that's how it went in my escape fantasy...
More than once when I was running errands on a particularly hellish day (which pretty much means ANY day at this point in history), I would stop and consider for a minute or two what would happen if I just kept driving.
Driving until I ran out of gas.
One time I made it as far as about 45 minutes south.
I started feeling guilty. I couldn't just go, could I? What would everyone do? Would I tell them, or would I watch the news every night looking for any indication that they were looking for me? What would I do about my husband? Would people miss me? Would they think I had been killed? If I did tell them, would they want me back or would it actually be a relief for everyone that it was over?
How would it, you know...go?
When I would daydream about it, I usually saw myself getting a job as a waitress at a greasy spoon or roadside bar. I would change my name, probably to something like Marge or Vivian, and I would rent either the apartment upstairs with the wacky neighbor or a beat-up old trailer in the desert (all of my possible scenarios take place in a desert-ish or dustbowl two-bit sort of town). I would live this life for a few years- until someone from my past happened to stop in the diner/bar and my hidden past would be revealed to all. I would then have to run again, hitting the road to look for a new town and a new waitressing gig. And, quite possibly, I would find myself mixed up in International espionage. Kind of like David Banner, but without all the angry Hulk-ish stuff.
But no, I never ran. I stayed and dealt with the whole nightmare that was my life.
I stayed, and here I am now. Sane(er), happy, grounded and relatively at peace with myself.
I don't want to do it, but I do think about what would have happened.
If I had run, to that diner, or that bar.
Who would I be? Would I still be me?
Or would I be the girl pouring you another cup of coffee, or another beer, while you're on a cross-country drive to see the country and "find yourself"?
Funny thing is, sometimes you find yourself in the strangest places.