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Tag Archives: Traveling

Close But Far From Modernity

A few weeks ago I visited Tombstone, Arizona. Have you been there? It is a sleepy place that at first seems like a town stuck in time. Horse-drawn carriages roam the street; Wood planked sidewalks creak underfoot and one must dodge the horse manure in the dirt streets. The permanent residents of Tombstone, of which there are approximately 1,300, have taken great care in preserving the town made famous by Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and friends and will forever be known as ‘that place where the gunfight at the OK Corral took place.”        Tombstone, AZ stagecoach20140915_162712

On second glance however, the townsfolk have turned the dusty, sleepy middle-of-nowhere town into a tourist trap. All the old saloons, brothels, movie houses, restaurants, thrift stores, etc. have been converted to gift shops with most of the items made in China and t-shirts saying “I shot the sheriff.” Nothing but class. Living on the strength of a 30 second event in 1881. In fact, in two weeks, it will be the 133rd anniversary of the gunfight. Oh sure they’ll have major reenactments and all the kids in town will want to be Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday for Halloween. But it is still a dusty, sleepy place that would be part of the desert if tourists didn’t leave their dollars behind to prop up the local economy.

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What I took from my visit to Tombstone was the fact that 1881 Arizona was only about 20 years from in the invention of the automobile and the airplane and modern medicine that may have saved the lives of several of the characters after the gunfight was over. Yet the OK Corral was still a place where grown men killed each other if another looked at them in an odd way or if another tried to pick up his girl. Let alone that prostitution was legal and rampant, everyone in town had a gun, or two or three, and that Tombstone is close to Mexico and rather hot, desolate, and dusty making all the inhabitants of town all a bit cranky. 20140915_161603

Yet some things don’t change. Men still get mad with each other over silly things and the sign above could apply to today’s politicians.

But at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves “Did we do anything worthwhile today?” Wyatt Earp thought so. “What can I do tomorrow that will be worthwhile?” And whether it be New York City in 1881 with all its modern conveniences or Tombstone, Arizona  in 1881 during the time of Wyatt Earp, the sun will still set and another day will begin tomorrow.

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Keep Traveling!!

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People People Everywhere!

I am finishing up a three day-er to Cleveland from my home base near Boston. I arrived in Cleveland yesterday morning via Charlotte (guess which airline I flew?). While I was walking through Charlotte-Douglas International Airport heading to my connecting gate, I realized why I like traveling so much. It may be a cliche, but seems to be true. It is not the destination, but the journey. And on my travels, I really enjoy meeting different people and watching people doing their thing as they move from here to there or there to here.

Let’s go through some of the interesting folks who have crossed my path on this trip.

1. Obese women waddling through Charlotte-Douglas with too short too tight shirt that did not cover up the muffin top. Obese woman was trailing three children, each of which was toting a small piece of child’s luggage. The woman turned around and saw me watching the scene and pulled her shirt down on one side, leaving the other side exposed. The struggles of flying are numerous and with three children, a parent must be stressed to the limit. I hope this lady found her way and did not suffer too much. I so wish I had a picture of this scene.

2. Here in downtown Cleveland there is a casino attached to the hotel at which I’m staying. I went over this evening to get some dinner and check out the scene. I did not, repeat, did not gamble a single dollar but saw way too many people who looked like they shouldn’t gamble either, putting more and more coins into the one-armed bandit or at least flashing their frequent gambler card against the machine that continued to take their money. The best part was that they were smiling and laughing and cheering as the wheel went round and round.

3. “I see dead people” – Today I got a behind the scenes tour of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank. I saw the largest vault door in the world whose two hinges each weigh 72 tons but balanced to perfection so that two people have no problem moving the door. I saw two robots, named Laverne and Shirley, move around thousands or millions of dollars in the secure vault area. I also saw a $100,000 dollar bill. Guess who is on the bill? Woodrow Wilson, hence the dead people reference. 

Traveling provides lets me see folks from around the country. I cannot wait to fly home tomorrow night and see who crosses my path. Travel on…

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Humor, Personal Dissection

 

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A Kiss Blown My Way

Sitting in traffic stinks. It is no fun watching the same two red tail-lights blink on and off traveling at a snail’s pace toward home after a long day at work. It is frustrating, especially when there are no good songs on the radio.

Yesterday, as I was within a few miles of home, the traffic was backing up, forming a snake of red lights in front of me. I slowly approached a side street, I saw an elderly woman waiting to cross my lane and make a left turn. She waved at me, I pointed at her and flashed my high-beams allowing her to continue on her journey. Afterall, I had nowhere to go with the red lights in front of me waiting for the light to change. As she passed in front of me, she blew me a kiss thanking me for my patience. This was a first. I chuckled to myself and marveled at how this small act elicited such a response.

And the moral of the story is: Let old ladies pass…they may blow you a kiss.

By the way, I cut off a tractor-trailer one minute earlier to make the previous light.

 
 

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Saying No on a Plane

I travel a bit for work, maybe 4-8 flights a month, depending if I have non-stop flights or have to make a connection. That means that I have had dozens of seat neighbors of all shapes, sizes, colors, odors and states of sanity.

I recently took an early morning cross-country flight from Boston to LAX and maneuvered my seat assignment in coach to an aisle seat on the right side of the plane, half way back. In January, I had ACL surgery on my left knee and feel comforted when I can stretch my sometimes achy or stiff knee out into the aisle. I put my bag in the overhead compartment and pulled into my row, standing, waiting for my seat neighbors to arrive. Soon enough a middle-aged woman appeared and asked not so politely, if I would move to her assigned aisle seat on the left side of the plane, six rows back.

Here is where it gets tricky. Most people I have observed on a plane, who are asked to move a seat, half-heartedly agree and shuffle out-of-the-way to their new seat without complaint. Are we expected to say yes regardless?  Most people agree because they don’t want to raise a stink with a stranger. Afterall, we Americans fear confrontation on a personal level, generally speaking. If a new mom with an infant needs some extra room or a pregnant woman asks, my answer is “No problem. Can I help you with your bags?”

The issue I had was that the lady who requested that I relinquish my seat was neither pregnant, nor did she have toddler in tow. She did not have any discernible ailment that would prohibit her from sitting in her original seat. In fact, she told me that “THEY” (the airline) split up she and her partner and they wanted to sit together. I thought to myself that this was her problem and she should have booked the two tickets together on the same reservation almost assuring they would be able to sit next to each other.

I looked back to where the lady’s seat was and saw a cluster of 52 15 year olds who, I found out later, were traveling to LA for a conference. Their two chaperones were sitting just a couple of rows ahead of me. After having woken in the four o’clock hour to get to the airport in time, I was not in the mood to get little sleep on the nearly six-hour flight listening to the constant gab of teenagers, not that I have a problem with teenagers, just 52 of them in a cramped airplane cabin for six hours on little sleep, isn’t ideal.

I told the lady “No, I would not move at this time to her seat” and only felt a pang of guilt for two milliseconds. She returned a big harumph. Luckily for her, one of the teenagers, who was assigned the window seat, arrived. The lady asked her to switch to the aisle. Shockingly, the blond teenager flatly said no also stating she was comfortable in the window seat. It wasn’t until one of the chaperone’s encouraged the youth to move did she shuffle down the aisle to her new seat, leaving me with two middle-aged women as seat neighbors who were now upset at me, not that I cared much.

Some questions to think about: Do we have to move seats when asked assuming there is no physical ailment or mitigating circumstances? Should we feel uncomfortable saying no to a stranger? Should we feel guilty when we DO say no? Do I have to tell this stranger why I said no and provide a reason why I don’t want to spend six hours in her original seat?

Say NO and put on your noise-cancelling headphones and don’t think twice about refusing to move seats, unless you’re a cold-hearted bastard who won’t move for a pregnant woman or family with toddlers.

I know the day will come when I ask someone to move for some inane reason and they will have the personal strength to say no to me. Until then, just say no, unless they offer something better, or cash!

 
 

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