Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Prodigal Son

So I'm back from Canada. A few random thoughts about the trip:

* With each trip, leaving Lea becomes harder and harder. I can't begin to describe what it's like to spend every day of your life with someone (on the phone), then be in their presence for two glorious weeks...ONLY to have to leave them again. I'd venture that we're as close to husband and wife as anyone can be, given our circumstances, and yet 90% of the time we can't so much as hold hands. I think there must be a bolgia in Hell that's a lot like this.

* On the flight home, this snooty British guy sitting next to me kept giving me dirty looks (I think it was because I was eating my tinfoil-wrapped cheese sandwich in his presence). I would've felt bad if he hadn't spent at least forty-five minutes out of the flight WITH HIS FINGER BURIED IN HIS RIGHT NOSTRIL UP TO THE @#$% ELBOW! I'm not kidding; this guy quite literally did not remove his finger from his nose through an episode of The Office and half of a National Geographic special. The next time someone tries to tell me how refined the Brits are in comparison to we ugly Americans, I'm going to play this charming memory in my uncouth colonial head. Oh, and he ate it.

* My back is severely messed up, and I think it's as a result of (A) being crammed for six hours into a tiny airline seat (about 18" wide, unlike my body), and (B) driving a compact car for a total of about twenty hours as we drove to see Lea's family. I don't mind the experience of flying at all, but the experience of being sardined into a plane doesn't thrill me, and I've had it with long stopovers at the airport (I don't mind an hour or so, but when I end up having to sleep there, it's not my idea of a good time).

* I continue to have a hate/hate relationship with public transportation. Damn it all to hell! Most of the time I'm at Lea's, I have to take the bus, and I'd much rather have my back messed up by a rental car than to have to endure the Gehenna that IS the Vancouver bus system. No, as such systems go, it's probably not a bad one at all. But that's rather like saying "As a means of splaying my urethra open, a filet knife ain't so bad!" I always hear folks telling me "I LOVE the public transportation where I live! It's efficient and clean!" OK, tell you what: if you have a system that (A) allows you not to have to be pressed up against total strangers, (B) has enough seats that no one has to stand up, (C) can always get you within a block of where you're going, and (D) has a new bus coming to every stop every five minutes instead of fifteen or thirty, THEN we'll talk. Until then, keep your stinking public transportation paws off me, you damned dirty commuter!

I just don't think human beings were meant to be treated like cargo, or like animals, and that's how I feel on the bus. If there's one thing I love about America (and there are thousands), it's that we're a car culture with the freedom to go where and when we want, according to OUR schedule, not the city's. And for you greenies out there, if you can make that happen for me just as easily with solar or electric powered cars (and hopefully you realize how electricity is generated), then that's OK by me, too.
I think it's all part of the way I find myself feeling in more recent years. I DON'T think I'm becoming more misanthropic, but I DO find myself, whether because of my rugged individualism or interest in objectivism or just exposure to PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, to be realizing how much of what bothers me about the world having to do with a group mentality rather than an individual one. The more I think about it, the more I find myself realizing that human beings are a pretty amazing species, but most of what I like about us involves who we each are as unique beings, not what we do as a collective.
Maybe that's why I want to be someone who can take myself to Walmart at 2:17am, in the privacy of my car, with the Upper Crust singing "Let Them Eat Rock," to get a bag of Cheezies rather than have to be packed into a stinking bus next to a crackhead who keeps yelling "they never bought me a dog!" at exactly 3:15 in the afternoon (barring a fifteen minute delay), making three transfers, standing up the whole time, watching idiots spit at a bus stop outside Walmart, then spending the next hour making the same damned trip home.
If that's the world you want, then excuse me if I do everything possible to keep myself from living in it.

* I watched a little kid at O'Hare Airport chasing a cleaning woman's cart around because he thought she was selling ice cream. Now THAT'S comedy.