Tuesday, January 20, 2009
We returned late Monday evening from a three day weekend in New Orleans, battered but not beaten. MrBuzz, Woody, and I pretty much did whatever we felt like doing, whenever we felt like it, as many times as wanted to. This involved adult beverages of course, but also involved lots of walking, great jazz, hole in the wall restaurants, the World War II museum, and a fine evening with a former co worker who had relocated. Although we crammed a bunch of stuff into a relatively short time period, it was very relaxing, mainly because the two main stress components, time and transportation, had been removed for the weekend.
I'm not sure which aggravates me more, being pressed for time (more on my chronic time compression syndrome in another post) or dealing with the hassles of a mechanized journey of some sort between points A and B. Airline travel involves the worst of both worlds with weather, lines, TSA apparatchik, and airline incompetence/indifference brewing up a toxic mix of 'rat in the maze' stress. They did their best once again on this trip with switching planes, late departures, imposible connections, and confiscation of my 3.8oz gift for the VOR(the rules say 3.5oz). I've been told I have serious issues with blindly obeying authority and my accusers may be correct. When my encounter with Agent Cletus was over I felt like I need a shower to wash away the sarcasm and cynicism that was dripping off me, but I made it on the plane OK.
When I think about activities that I really enjoy and that really renew my spirit, I realize that all of them tend to avoid the hated time and motor travel; once I arrive at the destination of course. I long for the day when I can simply be 'beamed up' by Scotty but I'm not holding my breath. Rather I hold my nose and jump in the car/plane/train/bus, et. al. and head for the R&R opportunity of choice. Whether its kayaking, skiing, hunting, strolling through the French Quarter with a beer (ah, sweet freedom!), or just attending a concert or reading a book, I always am able to decompress, relax, and enjoy the scenery, my companions, and the activity itself.
We do live in the time stress world however, and that was brought home when I left the friendly confines of Hotdish Night at Grumpys last night to join the VOR and some coworkers at what was billed as the downtown inauguration party. The Yupscale restaurant, Seven, and event organizers managed to stick a pin in the balloon of upbeat crowd attitude by delivering absolutely none of the advertised deliverables when they said they would. Most people wanted to actually hear what President Obama had to say rather than watching his face and listening to horrific techno-pop. They also were hoping that promised events (like rebroadcast of the inauguration speech) would occur within at least 90 minutes or two hours of when they were supposed to but that was not to be this momemtous evening. And a clever way to minimize hors de' ouvres consumption is to bring out a couple trays an hour or so before the majority of folks arrive, and then tell people that they had been served and were out.
But I still have hope. Hope that President Obama will get a thing or two back on the right track, that I can avoid TSA custody on future airline trips, that I will actually get in shape to ski these races I've signed up for, that the ice will thaw so I can paddle, and that Canoecopia will suddenly appear a mere couple days away. Meanwhile, I prepare for the 3 hour drive to the Intensive Training Weekend in the Lake Namakagan area of northern Wisconsin, certain that the skiing and cameraderie will far outweigh the 6 hours of ass time spent in the car.