Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Break from Hell

It has been 17 years since I went skiing, and my kids have never been. We have talked about it in recent years, and this year I decided to fork over the Benjamin’s for the three of us to go skiing in Breckenridge, CO. I booked essentially a hotel room (no kitchen, yes small fridge) within walking distance of Peak 9. I attempted to mitigate some of the cost by flying at less desirable times: early and late. Leave on a Sunday (early), four full ski days, return on a Friday (late).

Fudge It Number 1 – Flying In
I made the mistake of going with a 6AM flight on the Sunday morning of daylight savings, which really makes it a 5AM flight. Great! So, we get up at what feels like 02:45 (actually 03:45) so we can drive to, park at, shuttle in, check bags, clear security, and board plane for what feels like a 05:00 (actually 06:00) flight. Daylight savings plus a one hour time zone change plus being tired sometimes threw me for a loop when wondering what time it felt like.

Historical Note: for Spring Break 1989 me and 9 college friends drove from College Station, TX to Destin, FL, leaving late on Friday night. We thought it was cool to drive all night.

Fudge It Number 2 – Wasted Time
My first day thinking was as follows: fly in early, rent car, drive to Breckenridge with potential for bad weather and roads, take our time, get the lay of the town, pick-up ski rentals, check-in, shop for supplies, have a relaxed evening. The weather was warm and sunny. The roads were totally clear. I knew check-in was later in the afternoon, but hoped they would put our room at the top of the list since we stopped by the office early morning. The folks behind the desk had the same expectation. After farting around town for as long as possible, and in my tired/board state buying a nice, expensive pair of sunglasses I will probably wear 10 times over the next 30 years, we crashed in front of the desk, waiting. The desk crew thought the room would be ready. Alas, it was not. We waited. They even gave us a complimentary bottle of wine and some chocolate and nuts (which we never did drink or eat).

Historical Note: for Spring Break 2010 the kids and I went to Las Vegas. I went with Circus Circus because I thought it might be more kid-friendly. Mistake. Place is a dump, the casino is lame, and it is far from the main action.

Fudge It Number 3 – Broken Remote
On the night of our arrival we watched The Walking Dead. I was scanning channels via the remote control channel up button when it just stopped working. The little red light would light up for any button pushed, but nothing happened.

Related Note: They no longer get to watch TV in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead. 

Fudge It Number 4 – Broken Ribs
First day skiing in 17 years. Did one green, then bunches of blues, and two blacks. On the second black, which I really didn’t intend to take but took a crosscut too far, tragedy ensued. Just a bad luck fall, really. It was icy and I lost it. Skied down the mountain. Carried skis back to room. It just got more and more painful. ER later that night. Three broken ribs, 4th, 5th, and 6th.

Historical note: Spring Break 1986 in Galveston. We were staying in a bayside house, along a boat channel. First day we were jumping from the top of the house into the channel. Climbing out of the water I kicked an underwater post. Four stitches on the bottom of my foot.

Fudge It Number 5 – Broken Remote, again
The TV remote in my ER room stopped working. If I pressed channel up or down it would turn off. I was thinking, ‘What is the freaking deal with TV remotes in Colorado?!?”

Related Note: I never have problems with remotes at home.

Fudge It Number 6 – Oxygen Tank
The altitude combined with me not breathing normally resulted in an 85% oxygen level. I had to carry around a tank with that damn tube in my nose.

Historical Note: I was once kicked out of Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter. I had to carry around that stigma until I changed shirts, removed the bandana from my head, and could re-enter without being recognized.

Fudge It Number 7 – Hot Room (but not yoga)
The thermostat was set to off, but there was still residual heat from the radiator. The room would get hot, and uncomfortable.

Note: By this time I was thinking I should have gone with my other Spring Break idea, taking in some shows in New York City.

Fudge It Number 8 – Claustrophobia
On my second night with broken ribs I awoke at 2AM. I was in bed on my back. I could not lay on either side; couldn’t really move at all. I was very hot, my underside was sweating. The back of my shirt was wet and clammy. I had that oxygen tube in my nose. My throat was dry, and also felt compressed. I had to get up. I HAD TO GET UP!

Historical Note: one weekend in college, in-between terms, with a bunch of people crashing at one apartment, I was prompted to get up. I did get up, and left, and returned two hours later covered in mud. Got no idea what happened.

Fudge It Number 9 – Pay the Piper
On my second night with broken ribs. At 4AM. I decided I wanted to go home two days early. I was certainly done, and the kids were done if I couldn’t ski with them. Got partial refunds on some things, but had to pay out the wazoo for the change in flights, both a change fee and a ticket cost difference.

Historical Note: The first time I ever flew was to Phoenix to attend a summer camp in Arizona. I was 12 and flew alone. They dropped the ball on the hand-off and the camp rep could not pick me out of the crowd. I got my trunk and then just sat around. I called my parents collect and was just beginning to panic when a cop came along to help me out.

Fudge It Number 10 – Bumpy Rides Suck
I parked remotely at the airport, so we took the shuttle. That damn thing bounced around like a stagecoach on a back road. Very painful on the broken ribs. I stood most of the way. Lots of curves, and those hurt some, too; the lateral stress.

Unrelated Note: … and the one-legged jockey said, “Don’t worry about me. I ride side-saddle!”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Who can you trust?

Actually, it is not WHO can you trust; it is WHAT can you trust. You can’t trust a person, but you can trust what they are.

You ever thought about how much we trust as we drive our cars about roads and highways? Travelling at high speeds in heavy vehicles just feet from other vehicles, and sometimes those vehicles are travelling in the opposite direction. How do we do this with confidence? Because we trust that other drivers are looking out for themselves. We trust that other drivers do not want an accident, or injury, or death. Just as we don’t want those things. We trust in the self-serving nature of humans.

So on the roads and highways; so in life.

Trust is considered an important component in any relationship. What exactly are we trusting? We trust the other person will keep our best interests in the forefront of their thinking and behavior. We trust they will not hurt us. We trust they will provide us support and comfort. We trust they will not offend or betray us. We want that in our relationships.

Can you really trust another person to always keep your best interests in mind? The answer has to be no. What you can trust, however, is that a person will always keep their best interests in mind. In terms of a relationship how can you know if you can trust what a person is? How can you have confidence in the other person’s interests?

I could talk about mutual concerns and activities while respecting differences. I could talk about building a life together so you are “in the same boat.” I could talk about controlling what you can control, leading by example; you be there for the other, you be loyal, you earn trust. But our society is replete with examples of broken trust where the above conditions existed.

How can you trust?

Let’s close with a quote from Star Trek: The Next Generation:

RIKER: In all trust there is the possibility of betrayal. I’m not sure you were prepared for that.
DATA: Were you prepared, sir?
RIKER: I don’t think anybody ever is.
DATA: Then it is better not to trust?
RIKER: Without trust there is no friendship, no closeness. None of the emotional bonds that make us who we are.
DATA: And yet you put yourself at risk.
RIKER: Every single time.

Every single time.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Something To Talk About

It has been suggested I blog about something more personal. What can be more personal than sharing inane mental ramblings? Most bloggers, it seems, are either wanna-be journalists, pushing some agenda, or those whose blogs are more like diary entries.

Fine. Let’s talk about my love life. Is that personal enough for ya?! I’ll just throw out some stories and we’ll see what lands.

When it comes to dating I always seem to have no choices, or multiple choices. Never is it so easy as having one person I find interesting. There is either none, zero, zilch, or there is two or more. How long do I string each along before making a choice? I can tell you right now, I always choose too early. I am no good at stringing along.

I met this one woman; let’s call her Rockwall Girl. Rockwall Girl and I got along well enough. A good rapport. Within days I met a second woman; let’s call her Frisco Girl. Frisco Girl was going well, too. After going out with each, I eventually felt compelled to choose. I was leaning toward Rockwall Girl, and there was talk of “escalation.” But then spent time with Frisco Girl and I’m thinking it is going really good. As I said, I felt compelled to choose.

I speak with Rockwall Girl and tell her that any talk of “escalation” is just that, talk; that I was going to move on down the road. The next time I go out with Frisco Girl she does a brave and right thing and informs me she has herpes. We have a discussion about it. I do some research on it. Nope. Just couldn’t pull the trigger on that. Sorry, Frisco Girl.

To me, I was never supposed to get together with Rockwall Girl. Frisco Girl came along to stop that from happening. But, I wasn’t supposed to get together with Frisco Girl, either. Her job done, she has herpes to put the nip in that bud. Things ended up just as they are supposed to be. Alone.

I am just not that into her. This happens to me frequently. While I want a relationship, I don’t need one, so I don’t go out with someone just because I can.  I don’t date just to date, and the consequence is that I let burgeoning relationships die on the vine because I am apparently not that into her. Two cases in point, several years apart.

Wine Girl. What was not to like about Wine Girl? We went out several times, including bowling with her kids, and she did something nice on my birthday. Then one day I realize it had been two weeks since I had spoken to her. I figured if I went two weeks without thinking to call her, or going out with her, then clearly I wasn’t interested. Like a default decision. 

Lake Girl and I seemed to hit it off well, in some ways we got along very well. Again, what was not to like? Again, I simply lost interest and motivation; regardless of how much I thought I liked her.

Let’s put this another way. Perhaps I suck at dating. That is not to say I am wet rag on dates. Quite the contrary, if I say so myself. I just suck at getting to know someone through dating. My preference is to get to know someone in a more casual setting, without any expectations. Whenever I have felt strongly about someone it has been when I have gotten to know them in a setting other than going on dates. Invariably they are not available, or not interested. Perhaps things are as they are supposed to be. Alone.

Let’s finish with some quickies …

Class Girl. This was a case of too much information too soon. I need to not spill my guts so much. 

College Girl. An abrupt reverse course. Lead me down one path and then didn’t like it when I embraced it.

Running Girl. Awesome. She might had been available, but she thought I was 10 years younger than I am (which makes her very generous!).

Experiment Girl. I waffled too much, but then there wasn’t really much there, aside from the experiment.

Lonely Girl. Kind of depressing, really. Not a good idea. 

Navy Girl. Not a good match, we both agreed. But we did try.

Flower Girl. Game player? Says one thing, does another, but seems genuinely conflicted.

Next Girl. Should there even be a next girl? Maybe I will join a convent. Alone.