Monthly Archives: December 2014


I’m on VACATION!!!!

Billy Crystal states this in his 1st City Slickers movie.  When ever something seems out of control and he needs to step up and contribute to the solution to a problem, whether it is coming up with an idea or a plan, or delivering a calf, if he didn’t want to deal with it, that’s the 1st thing that came out of his mouth, “I’m on VACATION!”  I have been traveling the last few days and that’s how I feel.  I don’t want to learn a new system, I don’t want to solve new problems, I don’t want to have to fix anything.  I am on VACATION.

One of the things that happen when you’re on vacation is that most of the things you want to visit or see require traveling to and from these exhibits/landmarks/shopping areas.  NO PROBLEM, I have OnStar, and 3 people in my car with travel aps on their phones.  I have discovered, however that there is a difference in the travel culture here.  Where I live, if you want to go from A to B, you take the interstate, and EVERYONE knows how to get onto the interstate…there are only 2 of them.  1 goes East and West, and the other North and South.  There are a couple of beltlines, but they’re not difficult to navigate.  There are signs everywhere:  To Interstate XX  –>,  To Interstate XY<–.  Easy right?  Then when you’re on these interstates, if you want to get off to go to Hicktown, they put a sign that says, “Hicktown  Next exit, 2 miles”  then “Hicktown Next exit, 1 mile” and finally “Hicktown  Exit 42” and a long lane to make sure you REALLY want to go to Hicktown or stay on the interstate.  Makes perfect sense.  They number their exits according to the mile markers too.  If it’s exit 42, and you’re on mile marker 35, you have 7 miles.  TADA!!!

When you’re on vacation, however, this is not the case–especially on the east coast.  If you want to get on the interstate, you have to be very specific!  Do you want North to South?  Well, which one of the 5 or 6 do you want?  Do you want East to West?  There’s another 4 or 5 of those.  So it isn’t THE interstate, it’s WHICH interstate.  Signage is therefore complicated.  You come up on a big green sign that says Interstate XX, XY, ZW, 1XX, 2XX and 1ZW to Quaint Village, next 13 exits.  Oh, and you’ve already missed the 1st one sucker!!!  What?  Where was that?  oh no!  There goes another one!  They have Exit lanes that are 30′ long and go into spiral loops into the woods!  Speed limit on the interstate–70 mph, exit ramp 20 mph.  Here comes another one!  Screeching tires, the bat-grappling hook shoots out of the front tire and wraps around a pine tree which immediately starts to fall down and threatens a domino effect that deforests the entire coastline.  The car slows down, and all the passengers are thrown against the side of the car as you take the exit at 25 mph on 2 wheels, then you stand on the brakes when you realize there’s a red light at the end of the ramp in about 50 feet.  Another big green sign  says, “Quaint Village Interstate ZW, 1XX, 2XX  <–,   Quaint Village Interstate 1ZW, state highway AB, AC and AD –> and Subway .05–>”  They’re not talking a subway you can ride into the town, they’re talking about the fast food restaurant.  Which way do you go?  Light turns green, and since you’re in the turning lane, you turn.  Onstar cheerfully chirps, “You have left the driving route.  Do you want directions to get back on?  Say Yes or No”  YES!  “Ok, driving directions will stop.  Beedoop!”  OnStar has picked up someone in the back seat trying to extricate himself from the luggage and his fellow passenger who says (very quietly) “ooooooh” which OnStar takes to be “No” and completely ignores the panicking driver screaming, “YES!!!”  No problem, we have map aps on our phones.  3 different map aps on 3 different phones with varying degrees of sophistication come up with 3 distinctly different solutions to your problem.  Meanwhile, you’re now driving 55 mph on another road, and there are no more exit signs to Quaint Village anywhere.  One of the phones says in a nasally female voice, “take the next exit in 50 feet, bedoop”  and another phone says, “are you crazy?  don’t take that exit you idiot, it’s the Next one 1 and 1/4 miles.”  The 3rd phone doesn’t talk, but shows a long blue line with lots of squiggles and keeps flashing the “recalculating” screen.  Now you’re getting editorials from the phones that are arguing with each other on the best route, and they start getting personal…”You know ‘Iphone’ stands for Idiot Phone don’t you?”  “Ya, well you know that free aps are worth every penny you pay for them, you stupid Android!”  “Recalculating!” And now the car horns and waving gestures from the other travelers are starting to get annoying.  You decide to pull off onto the shoulder to get your bearings, which is not all that difficult at home where the shoulders are wide enough to accommodate 2 semis and a volkswagon side by side.  Here, the shoulders are 16.5 inches so you can get 1 tire off the road and backup traffic for miles in your lane as the travelers on the other 3 lanes zip past you at 85 mph.  (Remembering that the speed limit on this road is 55…) None of the phones wants to compromise and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus, so you push the onstar button again.  “ding dong ding,  Thank you for calling OnStar.  All our operators are assisting other lost bastids traveling on their vacations,  Approximate wait time is (mechanical voice chimes in)  4 HOURS and 22 MINUTES. (Soothing female voice) Please stay on the line and the next operator will be with you in (Mechanical voice) 4 HOURS and 21 MINUTES.”  It is now 1:12 and the exhibit/landmark/shopping center closes at 5:00.  You decide to soldier on and take the next available, whoops missed it, ok the NEXT available, dam, there goes another one, THE NEXT exit!  And from the back, “that’s a DRIVEWAY!”  You decide to take it anyway!  Then, you pull up to this auspicious looking building with a hurricane fence with razor wire curled at the top.  You are immediately greeted by 3 very large, very toothy dogs and a man in camo with dark glasses and what the ex-army passengers identify as a 50 cal gun on his shoulder.  “Back out slowly.”  You lower your window to say you just need directions to Quaint Village. One of the dogs gets his paws on the windows and explains to you in a loud, drooly bark that you’d look silly driving down the road without a face, and the guard lowers the gun, threatening your radiator, and says with a Christopher Lee voice that would do Death proud, “Back Out Slowly.”  Did I mention that the cars on this 55 mph road are doing 85?  So now, after you have been waiting in the driveway entrance for a break in the traffic for 35 min so you can back onto this road, and after having wiped the drool off the inside of your car and estimated that the insurance agent would not understand teeth marks on your steering wheel, some poor sot decides to take pity on you and allows you to get back onto the road.  Although your passengers have passed out, their phones are still throwing insults at each other, and the other one is still RECALCULATING furiously.  Then you notice that the blinking of the RECALCULATING phone appears to be in Morse Code.  You have been on the road too long.

Another thing you notice here is that there are 100’s or 1000’s of Quaint Villages of varying sizes that claim a battle ground for the Revolutionary war, the French and Indian war, the Civil war, the Price war, the war on Political Incorrectness… and all have several old buildings with funny spelling on the signs.  You come to the conclusion that all you need to do is add an ‘e’ to the end of the words and they become 100 years older.  A shop is 50 years old.  A shoppe is 150 years old.  Since your passengers are now unconscious, it doesn’t MATTER which Quaint Village you go to!  *the clouds part and you think you hear angels*  You nonchalantly take the next exit and find yourself on cobbled streets with long rows of olde buildings and cute signes.  You wake up your passengers and find a parking place.  You wander down the main street of the Quaint Village and gaze into the windows with delight.  In the middle of the town is a lovely fountaine.  There are quaint little decorative signes that point to a lovely Gifte Shoppe where you buy $5.00 post cardes.  Then you go to the quaint little gasse statione and get directions to the interstate (hmmm, already has an ‘e’ at the end.  To make it quaint, would you add another ‘e’?  Interstatee?) that will take you home.  The owner, noticing your quaint accent, quips “You’re not from around here are ye.”  He hands you a map and draws a path in red pencil from his gasse statione to your hotel.  The whole trip shouldn’t take more than 20 min.  You had driven for 3 1/2 hours to get here, but you are gratefule for the helpe.  You pile back into the car, turn off the arguing phones and the morse code flashing phone, and realize that when you shut off the car, the OnStar rebooted.  Calling OnStar, you are informed that the wait is now 5 HOURS and 16 MINUTES, and you hang up.  Your navigator, mechanic’s mappe in hande, gets you out of the parking lot onto a county roade.  20 min later, you can see your hotel and there are wooden signs with red letters and very clear directions pointing to it.

How very entertaining, you say.  What does that have to do with exercise, nutrition, fitness, wellness…?  Everyone has a path to wellness.  There are hundreds of aps, programs, medical advancements, potions, gyms, trainers, and methods vying for your money and your commitment, especially now, at the beginning of the year when everyone makes their New Year’s resolutions.  They ALL work for someone, but not all at once.  I saw a show where they have trainers screaming at their charges to do 1 more push up and then they show these people, all in gym shorts, the men-shirtless, the women in sports bras, their flabby arms at their sides, their navels about at their knees, their thighs jiggling and rolls of skin on their backs sloshing as they walk up to the scales and WEIGH them on National TV.  I talked to a woman on a Paleo Diet.  Most of the foods she eats were not available in their current form 10k years ago, in fact, if anyone had eaten as many almonds back then as she does now, they’d have died of cyanide poisoning.  Many of the tools recovered from the time indicate that the aboriginal cooks were grinding grain, yet she eats no grain products.  I imagine that milking a buffalo or a mammoth would not have been practical, but I don’t think it would have taken a giant leap to think that if mother humans produced milk, mother sheep and goats and dogs and other mammals produced milk.  If water was scarce and you could slip underneath a camel…  but she also consumes no dairy products. The ads on TV show these sculpted models using these items not considered humane by the Inquisition torturers to lose weight and become irresistible to members of the other gender.  There are testimonials by people that have lost the combined weight of a commune by using these simple pills 3 times a day and the unbelievably low price of 4 Starbucks lattes.  I watched a food show where the cooks were so worn out running through the grocery store to retrieve items for their products, and cooking at such a fevered pace just to come up with 3 tablespoons of food on a plate decorated by a green slime sauce that THEY lost weight.  And like the arguing phones, each claims it is the best way, the safest way, the cheapest way, the most efficient way to maintain a healthy life style.  My trainer says that as long as I eat things in moderation and continue to be active, my weight will stabilize at a healthy number.  I think I’ll stick to that.