Monthly Archives: July 2011
Those who know me well know I can get kind of cranky when I get hungry. I’m not talking about, “hey, my stomach is growling” kind of hungry. I’m talking about, “I will eat the spleen of the next person who talks to me” kind of hunger! When I get that hungry, you should throw some food at me and walk away quietly.
Last night, I planned on going home and cooking dinner. This dinner would have been ready at 6:00, which would have put me at the stomach growling kind of hunger. Instead, my brother asked me to drive him to pick up his car in Milford. He always helps me when I need it, so I told him I’d pick him up at his house when I got off work no later than 5:30. All was well and good until I hit traffic on the way to his house. What should have been a 15 minute drive turned into 30 minutes. It’s now 6:00 and time for dinner. There was no food in sight.
We drove to Milford with somewhat lighter traffic, so I remained calm. I dropped him off at his car at 6:30 and headed toward home. By now, my hunger had grown exponentially! Cars and traffic lights were my enemies and they must be punished if they slow me down! Of course I hit every red light possible, but it was the one guy who stopped at the yellow light who really pissed me off! I yelled something at him, forgetting that my top was down. I looked like an insane man ranting at the air.
As I approached I-71 South from I-275, I thought “how bad could traffic be at 6:45?” How about parking lot slow? Now starving and yelling like a mad man, I took Pfeiffer Road as a detour. At this point, I blame myself. I now had access to one restaurant after another and I could have stopped to eat. Since I was on an assignment by Alana to pick up Arby’s for her, I thought I’d just get something near there (I HATE Arbys) and go home. Wrong answer!
Going through a drive-thru pisses me off on a good day! This Arby’s drive-thru speaker had a hand written note saying “Speak Loud.” I had no problem with that! I shouted my order, confirmed it with the idiot on the inside, told him no thanks on the biggie sizing, and drove around to the window. You would think that my order would be ready fairly quickly since I was the only one in the drive-thru. However, following the rule of the land that says “when Jim is hungry, make him wait as long as possible!” I had to endure what seemed like 10 minutes to me (but was probably two minutes) to get the food and drive off.
I then went to Penn Station just around the corner. Again, I was first in line (they have no drive-thru), so I thought all was well. I placed my order and paid for it. My order included a small fry, so I looked to see if I was going to get cold fries or if they were cooking a new batch. When I saw they were doing neither, I said something to the girl who was standing there doing nothing “I ordered small fries, would you be so kind as to cook me some fries?” Or at least that’s what I thought I said. She probably heard, “Bitch, get me my fries before I see how long it takes for that grease to melt your face off!!!!”
By the time they handed me my food, I was like a drug addict going through withdrawal! The DTs were in full swing by this time! I grabbed the food, jumped into my car, and prayed there would be no delay getting home. There was just one more light to go and, of course, it was red and the car in front of me was turning left!
A normal person would have ripped the bag open and eaten the fries while waiting. Even though I was starving, I didn’t want the grease on the steering wheel. When I got home, I threw Alana’s Arby’s bag on the table and launched into inhaling my food! She just sat there like she was watching Hannibal Lecter eating liver & fava beans. When I was finished, I finally said “hello.” What she heard was “Good evening, Clarice“
It was now just past 7:00. It was only one hour later than I planned to eat. I was lucky I resisted the urge to kill someone during that hour. Some people have road rage – I have hunger rage! Next time you hear about a shooting at an Arby’s drive-thru, please bail me out!
For years, my vacations have consisted of me taking a 3-day weekend here, a 4-day weekend there. I haven’t been on a week-long vacation in over five years! I haven’t traveled out of the country since before passports were required to enter Canada and Mexico. So I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of travel companion I would be on a trip to Aruba.
I’m not the most patient person, and I’ve been known to be sarcastic and judgmental at times. I’m so spoiled as an American living a suburban, middle class, life. I find it easy to laugh at the odd people around me, knowing that being “average” gives you half the population to make fun of. Actually, it gives you all the population to make fun of! No one makes fun of boring, average people. Now take that attitude to a Caribbean island and see what happens! When I want something, I can usually get it when I want it. Island life is so laid back, they don’t give a shit what you want or when you want it!
“You want breakfast at 11:31? We stopped serving breakfast at 11:30 and you can’t have lunch until 12:00. Here’s a menu for you to study for the next 30 minutes while I ignore you and do what I want.”
“Oh, you finished your meal? I’ll have your check to you when I damn well please! Enjoy the view.”
“You want draft beer? Here’s a 10 ounce bottle of Balashi Beer instead. It tastes like piss, but at least it’s local!”
It’s people like me who create the image of the “Rude American.” I tried my best, but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself. The last straw was at the end of the week when they brought pancakes without syrup. I went kinda nuts on them, but it still didn’t hurry them up. They brought it when they wanted to!
It’s a good thing it was so easy to decompress by walking across the street and putting my toes in the sand as I walked into the ocean. I can get rude service at home, but I can’t have the ocean! It’s also a great people watching place. Do you have body image issues? Go to the beach! There are women who should have stopped wearing a bikini decades ago and men who are clearly 12 months pregnant, walking the beach and frolicking in the ocean like they’re invisible! I guess it’s that feeling you get when you don’t care what you look like because you’re on vacation. With that being said, those same people go to the water parks around Cincinnati! I have a flabby belly and the muscle tone of a 14-year-old boy, but I was walking the beach without a shirt anyway! I wonder how many people looked at me and thought, “Damn, please put your shirt back on!” Having a tan reduces the glare coming off a beer belly, so I did some preëmptive tanning at Palm Beach Tan before going on vacation. I’m all about the optical illusion of the tan.
Going on vacation makes you feel like you have to be doing something all the time or you’ll waste it. When I’m at home, I watch TV and read and generally sit on my ass. I try to do stuff on the weekends, but I’m content with being a couch potato Monday through Thursday. I woke up every day on vacation not wanting to waste any time. I ran, then I jumped into the ocean to cool off. By the time noon rolled around, it was time to do something! Laying on a beach chair entertains me for about 30 minutes at best. I had to have something to do. So we did stuff you don’t normally do at home and spent money you don’t normally spend at home. Being exhausted at the end of each day meant I succeeded in my quest to do something.
My favorite night was Monday night. Earlier in the day, we rented a car and drove to the tip of the island where the lighthouse was. We took a few pictures, then made a reservation for dinner at the restaurant next to the lighthouse. I was trying to figure out how and when to ask Alana to marry me and I thought that a romantic restaurant with a beautiful sunset would be ideal. We arrived at 6:30 as did 30 other people! We ended up with a good table with a decent view of the sunset, but it wasn’t the time or place to ask. I needed to improvise. After dinner, with only about a crescent moon shining in the sky, I convinced Alana to take a walk on the beach. Since the beach near our hotel was fairly deserted during the day, I thought that would be a good place to find some privacy. We get to the beach and everyone was outside sitting on beach chairs in the dark! I was thinking what the fuck is going on?!? This is really weird! I found a patch of large rocks on the shore away from the people. I sat her down and worked my magic and she said yes. As we were hugging, fireworks erupted in the sky! Of course, I took credit for this and said it was all part of my plan. She didn’t believe me and reminded me it was the 4th of July. So, Aruba puts on a display of fireworks for the American tourists on the 4th. I still say it was all planned out by me!
What made the night even more special was the guy who tried to sell us weed for $20 while we were walking back to the room. He said, “Hey man, you want some weed for $20?” I said, “No thanks.” Then he said, “I have coke too.” My immediate thought was, he would never make it as a salesman of any kind in America! If I refused the “Gateway Drug” that’s supposed to lead to the hard stuff, why would he think I’d buy some cocaine instead? I imagined him trying to sell cars. ”Hey man, you want to buy this Chevy? No? How about this Bentley?” I admired his tenacity. He should have gone to the airport and said, “Hey man, you want some weed? It’s duty-free!” He would have had a line out the door! Americans love putting one over on the man by buying duty-free!
I came home with a fresh perspective on how great my life is. I was able to see the poverty that exists on the island paradise. Living there would be awful. I guess that’s why people always say “It’s a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.” I’ll still be annoyed by everything from traffic to rude restaurant servers here at home. Knowing that it could be so much worse doesn’t stop me from telling the asshole who needs me to tell him how big of an asshole he really is. I’ll try to keep the island way of life for as long as I can. No worries, no hurries, it’s one happy island!