Dona and Joe’s European Vacation, Episode 8: The Three Faces of Dona

Dona and I have been married for nearly 19 years, but it took until now to learn what’s ticking beneath that pleasant veneer. It’s all become clear over the last week as we’ve traveled to New York, Dublin, and Edinburgh. There are not one, not two, but three separate personalities within that have come out during this vacation. Welcome to my world:

Morning Dona: There is a plan for the day when she arises, and it shall not be amended or altered in any way. Morning Dona is rule-based, and risk-averse. Will she try any of the local Edinburgh cuisine for breakfast, such as black pudding or haggis? I can almost hear the voice in her head as it shouts, “No! Stick to what you know. Have the Eggs Benedict and pray they’re not overcooked.” (For the record, I tried both Scottish dishes and they were great.)

Midday Dona: By afternoon, though, things have started to soften. As more and more of her morning goals have been achieved, there is a general loosening of restrictions, and the possibility that some plans may change. But the risk-averse aspect remains. Even at tea, presented with a dozen options ranging from Earl Grey to Blood Orange to Lemongrass and Ginger to Oriental Sencha, she opts for an Americano coffee.

Evening Dona: As they say in the car auction business, “The reserve is off.” The day is done. The goals may or may not have been completed, but it no longer matters. Evening Dona is free and fun-loving. She’s a let’s cut loose and forget the budget and have the sirloin (again) and go back to the hotel bar after dinner because it’s still early. This is my favorite Dona, because she’s a lot more fun to be around.

Dona responds: My day with Joe: Yes, married to this wonderful man for so many years and he too, has several personalities. There is Morning Joe, who must eat breakfast and, yes, he tries items that I will never try, even if it is because I don’t like the way it looks. Morning Joe is not interested in walking to our initial destination, because we will be walking all day. Afternoon Joe—he’s okay; he likes to pause and have dessert. Evening Joe loves a good meal and a great bottle of wine. Morning, afternoon and evening Joe and Dona know how to have fun, laugh at their various peccadillos and wake up ready for the next day’s adventure.

After walking for about 5 hours through the Edinburgh Castle, we had an hour-plus tour through the underground vaults (see below). While I was ready to move forward, I could tell that Joe was done with walking and touring. This is when I know it is time to stop and go back to the hotel.

Joe again: As for today, we spent most of it at Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile (and yes, the cobblestones do get to your feet after a while). I love history, especially centuries-old history, and the sights really delivered. Especially interesting was the Edinburgh underground tour, during which we learned about the city’s legion of poor, who spent a majority of their lives in cave-like vaults beneath a built-over bridge in the 1800s. Shopkeepers, criminals, and families lived in this world of brick and stone, perpetual darkness and disease, until a city survey exposed the conditions and a law was quickly passed to outlaw them.

Then dinner at The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen, where Evening Dona and I had a blast.