I caught my daughter playing a statue while we were in Sydney Australia. I realized that a reverse photo where my daughter’s backlit shape cut into the colorful outdoor background would be a neat shot to try.
I caught my daughter playing a statue while we were in Sydney Australia. I realized that a reverse photo where my daughter’s backlit shape cut into the colorful outdoor background would be a neat shot to try.
It seems I have been playing with glass a lot recently. My family did quite a bit of international travel this year, and several opportunities presented themselves for some cool glass pictures.
This one, which might be my favorite, was taken in Paris, at Georges Pompidou Modern Art Museum. I took a self-portrait of my reflection in an art installment with multicolored layers of plexiglas.
The next few were taken in the Modern Art Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. The first is of my husband. Notice my daughter’s reflection in the upper left.
This one is a reflected image of our family in the window, with the Port of Stockholm seen outside.
The last is one of my favs: a self-portrait I took in the Swedish Children’s Museet, in a room of mirrors.
I did something unheard of today. I went ballistic.
I am a cautious person. I have strong thoughts on many, many subjects, but I reveal my true nature to a few people whom I really trust. My entire life, I have had trouble standing up for myself. I was an only child, and I was so overtaken if a kid my age confronted me, I had nothing to say, because it was always a situation I hadn’t dealt with before. Maybe if I’d had siblings, things might have been different.
Middle school crushed me. I was unafraid to be who I was until then, even though I didn’t know how to argue, until seventh grade slammed my face into a wall made of an inconvenient truth: if you don’t fit in, you are NO ONE. I grew up in the south, where this point is made obvious even more than other locales. The phrase “You ain’t from around here, are you?” tells you everything you need to know about where I grew up.
I spent the next two decades hiding. The things that made me me, my intelligence, my wit, my loathing of “PC” and politics and politicians, my right to question authority, my right to reserve judgment about who my higher power was, my desire to wear “odd” clothing that expressed my personality, my streak of cynical darkness, were all things that were to be hidden at all costs. In the south that’ll get you a cross burned in your yard, a hanging in a local tree, or, most likely, complete social ostracism.
I was who I was with safe friends, family, at concerts and art shows, but when I was dumped into “social” activities, I had to hide. I learned to fake the southern accent that I deliberately chose not to pick up (I’m a great mimic), learned how to fake hug and say “How arrrrre yewwww?” in a fake sugar sweet accent, learned that the dictum about discussing politics and religion was my greatest ally.
Despite my mimicry, and some social standing as a physician, I have NEVER fit in. I can think of two times in my life when I really did: the year I spent doing research at the NIH in Bethesda with 50 top notch med students from around the country, and my residency in New Orleans, where people work to live and not live to work, where no one gives a shit if you dress odd and like to have a good time.
Why do I not fit? I’ve always been really pretty, after my ugly duckling stint in middle school, I’m funny, I’m nice (I think), and now as a doctor I have money, status and power. Why do I not fit in? Because I am TOO DAMN SMART. Too smart for my own good, as they say. I am a certified genius. My IQ testing was off the charts. I’m not bragging, because this is the one big trait that makes my life shit. I just can’t hide that. I can fake sweet, and I can “dress normal” and I can drag my speech out like dripping honey, but you just can’t hide intelligence. Try as I might, I could never fake stupid.
Since they destroyed my soul in middle school, I have never been able to stand up for myself. A childhood where I didn’t learn to argue, a fear of letting people know who I am and what I stand for, a fear that people won’t like me, a fear of burning bridges. You see, most of the views I hold are unforgiveable in the rural south.
I don’t even complain in hotels, or restaurants, even when a complaint is warranted. Afraid they’ll spit in my soup, not wanting to look like a bitch, afraid of causing a scene. Afraid I’ll be seen as high maintenance, or as throwing my weight around as a doctor.
So my entire life, I’ve been a fake and a fucking coward.
My friend told me that I would learn to be more aggressive when I had a child. That if I couldn’t do it for me, I could do it for them. But that hasn’t come up yet. My child hasn’t needed defending. And I continue to hate myself for being afraid.
Today I was sitting in my hotel room taking physician call when my fire alarm went off. There was no reason for it to. I called the front desk and was told they were doing state mandated alarm testing and that “it would be pretty noisy all day.” They told me there was nothing they could do.
It wasn’t just the alarm in the halls. It was the actual smoke detector in my room as well. The shrieking was piercing, it made my eardrums fibrillate, it was incapacitating. The desk said maintenance would be by in a bit.
A knock on my door. Maintenance. In desperation I’d used bandaids to tape a washcloth and a mouse pad over the alarm. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
I had finally hit my tipping point. I was no longer at a loss for words. I was no longer afraid to say them.
“I am a DOCTOR. I am taking CALL. I can not only not carry on a conversation on the phone, I cannot even hear it fucking RING. Do you understand me?!? This is UN.ACCEPT.ABLE. FIX IT. NOW.”
The maintenance man looked at his partner, and said, “I know, ma’am, I understand, ma’am. We’ll try to do something, ma’am.” And the way he looked at the other guy, I could tell he thought I was a damn bossy bitch.
And you know what? I didn’t care.
And you know what else? Those alarms that were supposed to be on most of the day? They turned off a few minutes later, and they never came back on.
So I found my voice. For a minute. A small thing, I know.
And you know what else? I might find the strength to do it again. ‘Cause know what else? It felt REEEEAL good, honey.
It is so hard to buy my folks a card these days. My mom is 71. My dad will be 80 in March. Their anniversary is this week, so I wanted to send them something. I went to look at cards.
I had to skip all the ones about doing fun things or traveling, because my Dad has gotten to the point where he can barely walk; he loses his balance all the time, and he gets nauseated in cars now. Sometimes they don’t even make it all the way out to Sunday dinner. My folks had planned to travel for their retirement, but after only a few trips, my dad was stricken with this strange malady where he can’t walk and falls over all the time.
Jokes about lawn mowing and barbecuing are out, because although he used to do these things, all he can manage now is a little lawn mower pushing before he is tired and has to come in. But he still feels like he needs to try and help. He became too depressed to do grilling and gave it up many years ago.
Jokes about enjoying a beer on your special day are out, because Daddy is a recovering alcoholic, so we can’t joke about beers. Don’t want to even put that idea in his head.
Jokes about becoming forgetful in your old age are out, because Daddy has been diagnosed with early stage dementia, probably due to his long standing alcoholism. He is increasingly distressed by his loss of memory of his once incredible vocabulary.
Teasing references about grumpy dads are out, because my Dad has always had an anger problem, and the dementia had only made him more irrational.
So what the hell do you send? I finally settled on a card with a cute little animal couple on it, suggesting that they debate about which of them is “the better half”. Even that one is a little dicey.
I never knew buying a greeting card was going to get so hard. There are so many things that you are not prepared for. No one tells you that when your folks get old, that nothing, not even innocuous things , are easy to do ever again.
After careful examination, I have arrived at the conclusion that my preferred way to travel is not by water. Particularly not by deep sea fishing boat. Or by cruise liner. I find that having the floor roll out from under me while staggering around in a cocktail dress and heels is surreal at best, and retch-inducing at worst.
I have been on three cruises in my life. The first was uneventful, and awesome. My husband and I went to the Caribbean. The boat behaved, the people behaved, the water behaved. My husband’s hemorrhoids did NOT behave, but that is another story for another time.
The second cruise I went on was for a medical conference. We went to Mexico. I remember one cruise night, the water was so choppy, I threw my heels in the corner and crawled into my bunk for the night. Supine was the only way I could tolerate that motion. And that was WITH a scopolamine patch on.
I cannot use scopolamine any more. It works great for motion sickness, but puts me in a suggestible state where any purchase recommended by any ship member will induce me to instantly purchase the product in question. Even if I have no need for such product. Even if such product looks like crap on me. I rang up quite a bill. And brought home a lot of stuff I have never used or worn, which is pretty severe, even for me. They don’t call it the zombie drug for nothing.
Also on that cruise, I met a woman who was a bit nervous. She told me that the previous two cruises she had taken, they had had to make port at unscheduled and undesirable places, because on each cruise someone on board had died and had to have their body dropped off at the nearest place possible. I sincerely wondered why she was trying for round 3.
I went on my third cruise this week. I just returned last night. We took our daughter for her first cruise and her first trip out of the country. We were on the Carnival Ecstasy. We were scheduled to make port in Key West and Cozumel. My husband had been specially practicing his Spanish.
The first day, we docked in Key West. I have never been to Key West, so I was excited to go. It was freezing. It was windy. It was raining. The enormous cold front that zapped most of the south and the east of the US got here too. After looking at the weather radar, we never got off the boat. I remarked bitterly to my husband that I still couldn’t say I’d been in Key West. “Go down the gangplank,” he suggested helpfully. “Put your foot on the concrete. Come back. And don’t forget your umbrella.” I told him if that counted as being in Key West, being on a ship docked there should be just fine as well.
The next day was a sea day. We were on our way to Cozumel, where we would make port by afternoon the next day. The weather on deck was too chilly to enjoy, and the sun too seldom came out of the clouds. We were at dinner when a pretty Hispanic woman sat down with her two boys. She mentioned that we were rescuing a craft full of people. We had heard nothing of the sort. We speculated what kind of craft it might be. I suggested it might be Cubanos, making their way from Cuba to Key West. The pretty woman said her husband got to the US the same way.
When we left dinner, half the cruise passengers were glued to the windows on the starboard side. They were taking pictures with phones and cameras. We looked out the window and saw what looked like a small raft or canoe, with dark heads visible and the upper part of their ship nearly even with the water – looked like there was a large amount of water in there.
My husband, who is former Navy, said our ship should give them food and water as needed and send them on their way. He felt the craft appeared to be seaworthy. He said there is no maritime law requiring passengers to be pulled out as long as the craft is salvageable. I didn’t think it look very salvageable, but what do I know about boats? Except that if the water is bouncy, I get dizzy.
When we were seated in a theater watching “family friendly” stand-up comedy, an announcement came over the intercom from the captain. The passengers had indeed been brought onto our cruise liner. The back of their makeship vessel was disintegrating and it was taking on water.
There were 41 men, women and children on that tiny craft.
They were indeed Cubanos, and they were lucky as hell, because they were lost and they were all about to drown.
My husband felt more positive about the rescue after the news that the boat was about to sink. He said mariners never leave seamen to drown.
They came on the intercom again. Authorities had been contacted, and we had to return to Key West, to turn over the fugitives. They were to be returned to Cuba once they received medical treatment. “I knew that was going to happen,” said my husband. “Now we won’t make it to our ports for the cruise.” That possiblility had not occurred to me. I felt a little perturbed.
Later, another announcement. We had received clearance to make port in Nassau, the Bahamas, instead of Cozumel. We would not make it to Cozumel, but we were at least going to make it to a beach. This was fine with me. I have been to both places, and liked them both. It was a shame my husband wouldn’t be able to use the Spanish he had practiced.
Some passengers were furious that we would not make it to Cozumel. They had made special plans there, or had relatives to see.
As if in some cosmic anti-karmic reward for rescuing doomed souls, the water was horribly choppy to and from Key West, thanks to that lovely front. Since I had no scopolamine, I took 2 benadryl and took to my rack.
We made port at Nassau, and my daughter and I went and got fried at the beach, where she was nearly drowned by a wave, and my husband blew over a hundred bucks in the casino. And then we returned to the ship.
The most positive thing I can say is that my husband let me buy a Michael Kors tortoise watch that I had been coveting for over a year. I had to promise to start working out if I bought it though. Always a catch.
It was really awesome that we saved 41 souls from perishing in that cold water. The experience was tainted though, by the complaining of our fellow passengers, and most of all the fact that those 41 souls, men, women and children, were being returned to Cuba, where their lives would now undoubtedly be more hellish than ever now that they had tried to escape.
I think now that I will travel by air or by land. There are too many vagaries of water travel, not the least of which is, it makes me queasy. And bodies have to be dropped off and fugitives rescued. And plans changed. I recognize that nothing is certain, except for the near-certainty that water travel is not for me.
But we did save 41 people.
And the above article is wrong. We were unable to transfer the fugitives to a Coast Guard ship because the water was too rough. That was why we had to go back to Key West. Just sayin’.
Mud is a season. In North Dakota, it follows Deep Freeze, which lasts about half the year. Spring is for sissies. In North Dakota, they have Mud.
When I arrived in North Dakota this time, I was excited because the weather was going to be unseasonably warm. I wouldn’t feel the sensation that the skin was cracking off my face when I went outside. I could walk, not skid, down the stairs off the plane onto the tarmac. I wouldn’t risk frostbite and death while looking for my rental car.
I strolled off the plane and went to pick up my rental car. They didn’t have a reservation. My liason at the locums company had forgotten to make it. I am so well known at the Hertz booth there that they call me “Alabama”. They simply pulled up my old info from my million previous rentals, and billed the car to the usual company billing number, no questions asked. They handed me my keys and I went happily out to pick up my car, secure in the knowledge that I would not turn into a pillar of ice while looking for it.
I dragged my luggage up the sidewalk towards the rental lot, which is unmarked, unpaved and unlit. Ahead of me, I could see what looked like a large puddle so I detoured into the road to get to the parking lot.
The puddle was not a puddle. Sometimes a cigar is NOT just a cigar. The “puddle” was a massive swamp, over a foot deep of pure mud. The whole parking area, which is glare ice all winter, had thawed in the warm snap and the permafrost was now perma-mud.
Everywhere, mud covered cars were sunk into the muck. There were two other rental patrons whose tires were spinning in the slime, finding no purchase, because there was nothing but more mud below.
It was pitch dark out there, what with the no street lights and all, but the gleam off the mud was unmistakeable. And I made the most intelligent decision of the night – I left my luggage on the pavement and made no attempt to drag it into that field. If I had, archeologists might be excavating it centuries from now, commenting on the sociological implications of lace thongs and jewelry making tools.
I contemplated opening the big suitcase and getting out my snow boots to wade into that mud, but that seemed like just too much trouble. I stepped as lightly as possible onto the mud, and with a SQUELCH my shoe pulled off my foot. Wily me, I was ready for that and promptly put my foot back in it. I began questioning the boot decision. I squelched my way to the car and climbed in, leaving huge fecal looking mud smears on the rug.
Without pausing for my usual seat adjustment/mirror adjustment/car charger/glasses routine, I started the car. I wanted to get onto the pavement and collect my luggage before it was run over or stolen. Or sucked into the La Brea tar pits.
At least I knew not to gun it. I have done a bit of driving in my life, and I knew gunning it would slew mud everywhere and dig me a deep slimy trench from which I would never emerge. I started the car and put it tentatively into drive. I gave it a little gas. Nothing happened. A little more gas. Nothing happened. A little more gas: a familiar skewing slipping sensation told me that I was about to dig myself into a hole if I wasn’t careful.
I tried putting it in reverse. Same sequence of events. Only in reverse. The car wouldn’t budge. I cursed the rental company for not including cat litter in the car supplies.
I saw a big fella walking up to my car. I reckoned he saw I was stuck. He told me he would push the rear of the car while I slowly gave it some gas. He pushed. I accelerated. The car slid forward a few feet, hit a slight upward incline, and started digging into the mud. He indicated he would push from the front, and I would try it in reverse. Same outcome.
We surveyed the lot and identified an area where the mud appeared to be at least a bit more solid. We would aim for that area and I would try to turn the car around there and take a run up the little hill to the pavement. Nope.
We were both swearing politely when a second fella showed up. I love chivalry! I have never believed for a moment that it was dead. With both guys pushing and shouting “JUST DON’T BACK OFF THE GAS!!! DON’T BACK OFF THE GAS! WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T BACK OFF THE GAS!”, I managed to slush the car onto the pavement! Triumph over the elements! I even remembered to collect my luggage, even in my manic excitement at having defeated the mud. As I pulled off, the one fella hollered, “HEY! Welcome to North Dakota!”
I yelled back, “No shit! And I was just happy it wasn’t 17 below!” I was extremely relieved, not just by my escape from an untimely mud embalming but because the bigger fella didn’t fall over dead while pushing the car. He had a great big beer belly and was puffing and panting after pushing that car. I just kept thinking, Lord, please don’t let him have a heart attack. I do NOT want to administer CPR on my knees in this mud!
As I drove up the road, I could hear the rattling and spattering of the mud off the chassis and wheels of the car. I kept fighting a belief that if I slowed down, I would be forever mired in a corn field.
I began to wonder if I was just a big ole weenie, whining about some mud in a parking lot, until I got to work the next morning and heard the nurses ranting about The Mud. There was no talk about budding leaves, or flowers, just MUD. One has a stress fracture and has had to wear a Hefty bag over her boot to just cross her yard. She can’t get a cast because it will get muddy and wet.
In North Dakota, the chirping of birdies has been eclipsed by the thawing of the permafrost and the release of primeval mud on a scale worthy of triggering mass extinction. Spring, thy name is MUD.
The first time I was ever to travel to work, I was finalizing my packing the night before when my daughter came to me. She was clutching a stuffed duck.
My daughter has a long history with ducks. When she was about 18 months old, she became obsessed with ducks. Her battle cry: “GUCK! I WANT IT!” Her doting grandmamma (and Mommy) couldn’t resist picking up every duck she saw – ducks are cute, after all.
Her Halloween costume that year was even a duck. She amassed a collection of stuffed, bathtub, and toy ducks second to none. One of these was a diminutive Gund; their answer to a Beanie Baby. He was a mallard, and his name was Guck.
The night before I left, my daughter came to me clutching Guck to her. “I want you to take him with you,” she said. “So you don’t forget about me.” My poor little Stink! How could she think I would ever forget my own daughter?!
I embraced Guck and found a place for him in my backpack. From that day on, he became my traveling Guck. I remembered the gnome in Amelie, and how she photographed him at travel destinations around the globe, for her Papa who had wanted to travel. I decided Guck would commemorate my travels, and my daughter would receive Guck updates.
Guck is now exceedingly well traveled. He has been out of the country numerous times, and has trekked through every airport in the country, almost. He has survived all manner of travel mishaps: a night in the Denver airport on the floor, a stay in the hotel from the Shining while stranded in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and an extremely bizarre flaming Kindle incident while on board an airplane. (https://beadstork.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/kindle-fire-no-really/)
This gallery is dedicated to my brave Guck and his world travels – may he go on many more!
I have been accused by many of being a cynic. I can’t imagine why this is. My question for you is: Is it cynicism if it’s true? I have heard cynics described as “failed romantics”, and if that is the case, I guess I am a cynic. I tried to deny it during a visit to my shrink, and he reminded me of a statement I made on one of my worst days. When asked if the glass were half full or half empty, I replied that someone had stolen my damn glass. Now that I would refer to as bitterness, but who am I to argue?
My cynicism, if it exists, began in junior high, but was firmly seeded when I started medical school. The summer before I went to med school, several people told me that I needed to read Samuel Shem’s “The House of God”, which everyone agreed “told it like it is” and I would know what to expect when I started that July. Let me say that it is an excellent book, but you should not read it prior to starting medical school. It will set the stage for bitterness beyond repair, because all of the things in that book ARE true, and they are a horrible sad reality. My husband has questioned the source of my somewhat bitter outlook, and among those sources are that book. I have urged him to read it, so that he may better understand, but he has not read it yet. He will probably not, unless I maybe read it to him. He is very busy, and mostly reads technical journals.
I have made many observations, which I insist are realism and not cynicism. Maybe you will agree with me, or maybe you won’t. I suspect these random thoughts may ring some very familiar bells, which likely cannot be unrung.
Why is it that when you are terribly late, that you will hit every light on the way to your destination, but if you are early and hoping to delay your arrival, all your lights will be green and there is smooth sailing? This also happens when you really need a stop light to quickly check a text, which may be crucial to your outings that day. My husband would claim (I sometimes refer to him as Mr. Spock) that these occurrences are mere coincidence, and that our mind only registers the outcomes that we (bitterly) expect. I don’t know.
Why is it that my husband always calls me when I am running between airplane terminals, on the toilet, sleeping, or otherwise engaged in an activity that makes it virtually impossible to answer the phone with any convenience at all? He indignantly denies this, and tells me if I don’t stop complaining, he won’t call me at all. It would be churlish and counterproductive to suggest that this is a desirable suggestion. It certainly would not make for good marriage relations.
This may not be a problem for most of you, but why is it that when you have been up all night delivering a baby, and desperately need to go home and shower and rest, that just as you walk triumphantly out of the delivery room, there is another woman sitting there in a wheelchair who has just come up in labor? This seems unnaturally cruel. It is a lot more unlikely to happen if you are well rested. It is most likely to happen at 4 in the morning. Studies actually bear this out. Human cortisol cycles dictate that more deaths and births occur around 4 in the morning than at any other time. The baby I delivered this morning came at 4:17 AM. I rest my case. When I got the delivery done, there was another woman being admitted in labor. Really? Uncool, universe, uncool.
Why is it that when you are in a rush to pick your daughter up from school, she will be covered in paint, in the middle of a project, and her backpack completely unpacked? If you have plenty of time, she is packed, homework done, and ready to go home.
Why is it that the hotel WiFi always cuts out when I am actively doing something, like Skyping with my family? It never does it while I am asleep. Then I get accused of deliberately cutting off the connection.
Why is it that when I am finally getting some sleep, (and of course have not put up the Do Not Disturb sign at the hotel, because I think that there is no possible way that housekeeping will come around that early) that they come banging at my fricking door at 8:45 in the morning? However, when I am at work at the hospital, and hoping that they will have come already, when I return at noon, they still haven’t come and start banging at my door wanting to know if I want service? Why is it then, after they have already come and gone (and tried to weasel out of various services because I am sitting there, and they can ask me if I “really need my bed made”) that just after I have gotten rid of them and locked up the door, the head of housekeeping will show up, bang on the door yet again, just to ask if I have gotten my room cleaned. Why is it that no matter how loud I yell, “COMING” in a tiny hotel room, that they NEVER hear me, even though I yell it twice, they still jam their keys in and pull at the door? It’s one room. I have a loud voice. Have they all been deafened by their vacuum cleaners?
Why is it that there is always massive, dense frost that must be scraped if I am in a hurry or running late, but the windows are always pristine if I have plenty of time?
Why does the damn hospital always call when I am in the shower?
Why is it that they only show the episodes of Law and Order, NCIS and SVU that I have never seen RIGHT when my husband calls and wants to Skype. Why does he blather on until the whole show is over? Why can’t he ever call in the middle of the multitude of episodes that I could recite verbatim and am sick to death of?
Why is it that the patients that wake you up in the middle of the night are always the ones that you don’t know, that belong to another doctor or hospital, that have no prenatal care, and who are unbelievable pains in the butt?
Why is it that after many days of clear skin, on the one day you will see someone whose opinion of your appearance matters to you, will you wake up with an enormous zit? Why is it always the one that has roots in your damn tonsils, the kind that you can’t hide no matter what, and the kind that takes days (if not weeks) to clear up?
Why is it that if you are late for your plane, the parking lot will always be super full and you will have to park 8 miles away and run? Why, when you are early, will it be totally empty and you have your choice of spots?
Why is it that when you are about to miss your flight connection, your gate will be 6 concourses away, always in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, where you have to run most of the way and the tram will take you about 5 inches. When you are early, your gate will be directly next to the one where you have disembarked.
Why is it that if you decide to go home because a patient’s labor may be awhile, that they will either develop conditions that necessitate multiple phone calls and the need to go back in to the hospital, or they will dump the baby out in the bed before you can get there, but if you decide to wait at the hospital, everything will go smoothly and will take forever, while you are trapped there with nothing to do?
Why is it that in winter, the beautiful sunny days are always horribly cold, and the ones at a temperature where you might actually want to venture out, are always gray, depressing, and raining. Actually, there is a known reason for this, having to do with weather patterns. I disapprove.
Why is it that when your call ends at 7 AM, you will get called in for an emergency delivery at 6 AM, which will necessitate you working over your call time, especially on the day that you have to be returning to the airport? Why is your call replacement always late getting into town?
Why does Walmart never have enough fricking lines open, even during times that are known to be busy?
Why is it that yogurt, toothpaste, coffee, and other staining items always splorp out on your work or travel clothes, but never on your t-shirt and yoga pants, even if you are being very careful?
Why, when you drop something small, expensive and important, will it always take a bounce that defies the laws of physics, and land in the one place that you believe it was physically impossible for it to go? Why, if it is unimportant or messy, will it always land right in front of you, or splat on your clothes?
Why is it that the piece of luggage you drop always contains your computer?
Why, within months of the time that my GI doctor told me that I should not drink coffee, were not 1, not 2, but 3 Starbucks erected in my previously Starbucks-less town?
Why do you always miss the flight when you are headed somewhere of tantamount importance or great desire, but never when you are going somewhere where you couldn’t give a shit if you get there?
Why are the totally cutest clothes and shoes marked down to a totally awesome price only available in someone else’s size?
Why is it that you always have some weird muscular spasm and ram your freshly manicured toenail smack into the underside of the drying table when you are getting up to leave from your pedicure?
Why does your car wait to go off waranty before it totally falls apart? Why does this happen one day after it expires?
Why is it that the drier always beeps when you are in the middle of dinner, or a shower, and it is always the load that must be hung up immediately? It is never towels.
Why is it only the glass ornaments that fall off the tree?
Why do you always have to poop right after your shower?
Why is it that you always get horribly sick on vacation, and not when you could totally use a break from work? Why does your kid only get sick when you are about to leave on vacation?
Why is it that packages that must be signed for only come when you are not home? Why does the mailman come at 2 PM when it doesn’t matter, and at 9:30 AM when you are struggling to get bills out on time?
Why does your phone lock up while you are trying to pull up your boarding pass to get on a plane?
Why is your plane seatmate always the last to board?
Why is it something different that sets off the TSA metal detector every time, when you always pack the exact same things in the exact same way?
Why is the person ahead of you in line at the grocery store always trying to pay in Euros, or trying to use their debit card to bring down the entire US banking system as we know it? Why must their items always be price checked? Why do they have 80 coupons? Why is their credit card always denied? Why is it that the line you pick is always the one that comes to a smack halt, when all the other ones are moving smoothly?
Why do travel opportunites, parties and visits with friends only come available when you have already made other, unbreakable commitments?
Why do your coat, backpack straps, purse straps and other items always get hung up on doors and handles so intensely that you must back up and untangle them? Would this ever happen if you needed this to to save you from falling off a cliff? Hell no.
How can an enormous ice scraper disappear out of a rental car that only you use, that you always keep locked, and that is so big that if it fell out, you would totally hear and feel it falling on the ground? Why does this only happen on the day that the most ice forms all over your windows?
Why is it always someone else that wins the damn lottery?
Why is there always a crisis when you desperately need to be doing something else?
Why, if a cabinet door is opened for a minute, will you smash your head into the corner of it so hard that your ears ring and there is a bloody flap on your scalp?
Why does one earring always come out and get thrown away with the scrub cap?
Why, when you have to do a delivery so fast that you don’t have time to change out of your street clothes, or put on your tall hipwader boots, does the amniotic fluid explode all over you, the blood sprays all over and out of the cord, and the placenta flies out with a plop and a splat on to your feet, but when you have on your protective gear, the delivery is unbelievably tidy, and nothing gets on anything?
Why do you always get a paper cut right before you have to cover your hands with alcohol solution to do surgery? Owwww.
I could go on. Really. Endlessly. This is but a random smattering of my questions for the universe. My husband would state that all of these occurences are random, and have nothing to do with the circumstances at hand, but I just don’t agree. Somebody stole my damn glass.
Since I have been traveling for work almost a year now, I feel I am in a position to offer some insightful travel tips and hints. With any luck, these will not frighten you away from ever traveling again.
1. Sweaters with festive metallic threads will light up a metal detector like a Christmas tree. You will be groped and cavity searched. Happy holidays.
2. Atkins bars show up as liquids in the scanner. They will open your carry on and paw through it. They may or may not grudgingly admit that Atkins bars are not liquids. They will not apologize for accusing you unjustly of smuggling liquids, nor will they apologize for pawing through your bras once again.
3. Sometimes it is quicker to go pick up your rental car first than to go wait for your luggage.
4. Sometimes it is not and they will whisk your bags away to Unclaimed Luggage when all you did was stop to pee and buy a coffee before heading to the luggage carousel.
5. Ice scrapers mysteriously disappear from cars, especially when they are laden with ice and you are late.
6. Do not torment yourself by repeatedly checking the weather before you leave on your trip. Sometimes it will actually be better and sometimes it will be worse. The only constant is that it will change a million times over that 10 days. Get a quick impression. Will it be crappy? Will it be hotter than hell? Will it be cold as f*ck? Pack accordingly and then never look again. Unless you really want to. Or if it looks like the sky is falling. Get a weather app for your phone and you can torment yourself hourly.
7. You will always be seated next to a screaming baby. Some people like to pay to fly their screaming babies first class, so don’t think you will get out of it that way.
8. Everyone in first class will be swilling alcohol. Especially the innocent looking little old ladies, who will get hammered and begin to swear like sailors. A flight attendant friend of mine told me that all that drinking is because in first class the alcohol is “free”. They will drink no matter what. Even on a Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM. Especially on Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM. Especially if they are going to work that day. Because it’s always 5:00 somewhere.
9. No master how slick a traveler you think you are, you will always manage to do something that is wrong, clumsy, and awkward. Get over yourself. You’re not that slick.
10 You will always get lost in the Minneapolis St Paul airport. The architect was drunk. The people who made the signs were drunkerer.
11. You will hate the Denver airport. It will hate you back.
12. The Houston airport always smells like tacos.
13. You will always drop the bag your computer is in.
14. They do not allow you to bring food or drinks into the Delta Sky Club, even though the food and drinks they provide in there are free. Go figure. Yeah. Think about that again. Than, go figure, because I can’t. But you can always sneak them in. I do.
15. While waiting to catch your plane, you will be sitting next to a fat loud business man who is on his cell phone at top volume, thinking he is the Wolf of Wall Street, and looking and sounding like a fool.
16. The computer charge ports will be occupied by bored texting teenagers who have piled their bags into the adjacent seat, which you will have to ask them to move so you can charge your computer.
17. Sometimes your Kindle will spontaneously burst into flames while you are on an airplane. No. Really.
18. You may become trapped in an airport bathroom once all your luggage is dragged in after you. Something will always fall on the floor. The toilet will flush while you are on it. The doors open inwards, so good luck getting out of there.
19. You will suddenly need to poop as soon as you get on the plane.
20. The soap in the bathroom dispensers always look thick and fluffy, but it is watered down and it is never enough.
21. The water in the sink will cut off on you 700 times as you try to wash your hands.
22. You will look at the weirdos at the gate and think, “Thank goodness, I won’t have to deal with them because I am in first class.” They will be sitting next to you in first class.
23. The crossword in your Sky magazine will always be partially worked, in ink.
24. They may or may not detect a weird chemical while doing a random swoop of your carry on. They will not tell you what it is, or if it is dangerous. They will then remove everything from your carry on, even your undies. They will glare at you, and wish they could cart you off to Gitmo.
25. You will eventually be in a situation where you will have to receive a full pat down. They have an entire hour long speech that they are required to give you first. You cannot stop them from giving it by telling then not to worry about it and just get it over with. They will give you the full speech anyway, even if you are late. Especially if you are late.
26. The luggage is loaded on to the plane by large angry mountain gorillas, because they are cheaper to pay than people. This is all the explanation you will need to understand the appearance of your luggage when you get it back. IF you get it back.
27. Your ride to the airport will either be early or late. Either way, it will be the most inconvenient outcome possible.
28. You will sit in the wrong row of seats on the plane many times. At least I do. I like to think of myself as Aisle Impaired. The most common phrase I hear while traveling is, “Excuse me, ma’am, I think you’re sitting in our seat”. I don’t understand how in the hell I keep doing that.
29. Just as you begin to happily think that the seat next to you will be vacant, your seatmate will be the last person who gets on the plane.
30. It may or may not be true that if the person next to you is so obese that they require a seatbelt extender, that the whole plane will tip over sideways in flight.
31. Your rental car’s last occupant was always at least 8 feet tall. All seats, belts and mirrors will be adjusted accordingly.
32. Every single rental car has its gas cap in a different damn place.
33. Your next door neighbor in the hotel will be a sex fiend screamer who likes to bang the headboard against the wall, a family with multiple small children with a father who likes to tickle and wrestle with them so that they scream and giggle while he hoots and hollers, or a drunken cowboy who indefatiguably loves to hurl all available furniture against the wall.
34. Virtually all hotels now are strictly nonsmoking, but someone on your hall will be smoking anyway.
35. Woe betide you if you are in your room when they come to clean it. They will ask you if you want each individual service, in an effort to wear you out and shame you into telling them they can skip vacuuming today. It is not considered acceptable to say, “Just do your damn job!”, even if you really want to, because next time they will spit in your coffee pot.
36. There will always be some elderly person checking in for a week long stay at the desk if you run down there with a quick request. They will question the desk person about each item to be initialed, and argue about whether or not they need to sign it. They will have forgotten what kind of car they drive, and they will have to go outside and look.
37. If you leave canned soda in the trunk of your rental car in a cold climate, it will violently explode and leave Cokesicles hanging from the underside of your trunk lid. If you are lucky, it will be diet. Don’t ask me how I know this.
38. Walmarts are like weird warps in the space-time continuum. Once you enter one, you could be anywhere. You can walk into one in Ohio, and when you walk out you may be in Alabama. Strange but true.
39. Airplane bathrooms are scary biohazards. One day they will discover that Ebola got started there. Never forget to close the seat before flushing, or that weird blue water might get on you. And then you will have Ebola.
40. You will forget about the drink you bought to drink on the plane until you get off the plane.
41. There will always be some chick on the plane who will glare at you for no apparent reason.
42. If there is one person on the plane with peanut allergies, they will not serve anything containing peanuts. This is probably prudent on their part, but I am using this paragraph as a platform to segway into the fact that I think that it is totally weird that I knew no one ever who was allergic to peanuts when I was a kid, and now everybody is. Same deal with gluten. Will they one day no longer serve wheat on planes either? Because if so, please remind me to bring my own snacks.
43. There will always be a kid behind you kicking your seat. Their parents never notice, probably because it keeps the kids occupied.
44. Having children does NOT make you tolerant of other people’s children. Does not. Does not. Actually, it’s usually the crappy parents I’m intolerant of.
45. Someone on the plane is always wearing shorts and flip flops on a flight to North Dakota in winter. It is amusing to ponder how anyone could really be that stupid.
46. Money does not guarantee taste. And no, a fuzzy chartreuse sweat suit that says Juicy Couture across the ass worn with a multicolor Louis Vuitton bag with blaring primary colored logos all over it and gold sequined Uggs do not make you look rich and classy. They just make you look like Walt Disney threw up on you.
47. Someone always has luggage that is so nice that you want to bop them over the head and run away with it. Do not give in to this impulse.
48. Who was the settler who arrived in North Dakota in the dead of winter, surveyed the 8 feet of snow surrounding them, stuck their nose out in the -19° weather and said, “This place is AWESOME. I think I’ll stay”?
49. Your phone battery always runs down much faster than you think it will.
50. Accept the fact that something bizzaro is probably going to happen to you. Today. Revel in it. If nothing else, it will make an awesome blog post.