I let myself get sunburned. And I really can’t explain why.

We can be self-destructive in the strangest ways. Back at work on Monday morning, then, by evening, hit with the full force of whatever bug caught E. and me down in the Canaries. Something that bit hard around the edges of the brain. It’s not a great way to end a vacation. For a week now, something has been sitting on my chest. And last night I had a nightmare of sorts. I think you’ve reached a certain level of adulthood when the antagonist in your heart-pounding dreams are not monsters or serial killers, but students and colleagues.

I wake with that electric burn from cortisol.

I have been thinking that every time we step away from our routine lives, there is no returning – in the way that no one steps in the same river twice. We have to reconsider the current situation. No pun intended.

My dreams seem to be about powerlessness. About being inconsequential. Twice on this trip men stepped into me. Backing up to press me against a wall, or against a railing. Oblivious. Maybe. I still feel this little twinge of rage. If one can have a “little twinge” of rage. I was surprised by the welling of curses and fury in my chest. I think maybe that accounts for the weight I feel now.

And the added weight of self-recrimination: I said nothing. I didn’t expect that “being invisible” would take this particular form. I mean, I’m growing accustomed to my ideas being shoved aside for “fresher” takes, more “relevant” perspectives, but I really didn’t anticipate the literalness of this particular kind of invisibility, the literalness of being stepped on.

There is a source of the stories, the archetype of the crone who whispers curses at people shuffling by… oblivious to the danger.

I don’t want to become her. And this morning I am wondering if the only way to avoid it is to begin wearing outlandish hats and playing the eccentric. There must be another way to stay “relevant”.

I am still alive in this world. Still caught up in the same current of events as the rest of us all.

I’m rushed this morning. It is difficult to prioritize sleep and still get in all the activities that are “supposed to” fill the morning. The whole idea of my morning routine is to begin the morning slowly, and easily. It depends entirely on having the discipline to get to sleep when most people are putting on a movie, or drinking a glass of wine at the intermission of a play. Back when plays were long enough to have intermissions.

It’s raining. I can hear it through the window. I can hear the soft gusts of patter. And the metallic trickle from the roof gutter to the drain in the driveway. Leonard will drag his feet on the walk. Not the role model I need this morning.

Coffee. Yoga. Walk. Work. Then packing for a week on Gran Canaria. Nothing fancy. Plane, train, and automobile. A budget trip to load up on sunshine before the darkness settles over most of the day, all of the days. And the only time I will be able to see natural light will be when I can slip out of the building at lunch.

Part of me wishes that the autumn break was a month away. We’ve had a long, warm and bright fall and the need hasn’t built up in me as it usually does. In fact, the last week I have been gearing up. Looking forward to the next project. My own, and at work. I’ve been settling back into my skin. Picking up old habits. The good ones.

I always have anxiety about traveling. It has gotten worse over the years for some reason. There is, of course, the unknown: floods, crime, political upheaval (I was nearly arrested in Kyrgistan at the tail end of the pink revolution). But now it is just the treat of a wedge in the routine.

Just as I was getting started.