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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Travel Plans

My wife's funny.

We're trying to decide where to go on vacation this summer.

"We should go on one last big trip before we have a baby," she says. That sounds reasonable enough.

"Great," I reply. Where?"

"Oh, I don't know. Somewhere on a plane."


My wife loves to try and get me to do things I hate doing-- like recycling. And flying. She's not particularly dying to travel somewhere intercontinentally, but she wants to fly somewhere with me-- to get me out of my comfort zone. She feels this is good for me, the way that fathers feel that football is good for their pale, gawky, awkward sons. This sometimes covert, sometimes overt prodding is very similar to her insistence that I hold other peoples' children. I know part of the reason she wants me to do it is so that I get comfortable doing it, so that I'll hold our own child when we have one, and part of the reason she does it is so she can get that warm, gushy, schmoopy feeling a woman can only get when she sees her husband cradling a child, thus proving that he's not a total immature, knuckle-dragging, incompetent, retarded asshole. Every woman wants not to think that about her husband, and, even if it's true, no man really looks like that when he's holding a child, unless he's holding it upside-down, or over a balcony railing (no offense to the recently deceased).

We were originally planning on returning to Maine, like we had done last summer, only we would venture a little farther North than we did last year, to explore more of the state. I have recently been reading "Northwest Passage," an extremely poorly-written (lots of misuse of the contraction "it's" which is just unforgivable in a published work) biography of Stan Rogers, and then the idea hit me.

"Hey! Why don't we go to Maine for a little bit and then, you know, just keep going-- up to Halifax or Nova Scotia. We can go to a different country-- without flying!"

At first, my wife saw this for what it was: a totally transparent cop-out by an errant, insipid coward, but, the more I talked the idea up, the more it began to grow on her. Her parents had been up that way for a wedding recently and had nice things to say about the area. Bob, our friend who is building a master closet for us had been there with his wife and son and loved it.

"You know, instead of doing the drive, which friends of mine have done and they say it's lovely, but long, you can catch the auto ferry from Portland."

My wife's ears perked up at this. Here was an opportunity to go where I wanted to go, but to make me do another thing I don't like: travel by water.

Several years ago, we took the auto ferry from Plattsburgh, New York to Vermont and there are a couple pictures of me clutching onto the railing for dear life with a wince on my face that gives the impression some unseen bully had just smeared fresh blueberries all over my pants and called me a "faggot" but I was told I still had to smile for the picture. I think I ended up negotiating with my wife that, if I made it for the first half of the trip (probably around six minutes) that I could sit in the car for the remainder of the watery voyage.

I am very well aware that I am going to die one day, probably of a respiratory-related ailment, and though I'd like to put that off for as long as possible through constant calls to my doctor and a steady diet of maintenance inhalers, I am also pretty fanatical about avoiding dangerous situations that may hasten my demise. These situations include, but are in no way limited to:


Taking the train.

Going out on a boat.


Mowing the lawn.

Repairing the roof.

Walking during a thunderstorm.

Driving during a thunderstorm.

Flying during a thunderstorm.

Shoveling snow.

Getting into altercations or arguments with unknown entitites.

Parking near a BRINKS armored car.

Visiting an ATM after 7pm.

Eating the contents of any can with a visible dent.

Consuming food products past the expiration date.

Consuming medication past the expiration date.

Using public lavatories.

So I try to minimalize my chances of early demise by avoiding as many of those, and other, activities as I can, and yet, I still do lots of them-- though I'm pretty diligent about the dented can rule. You can easily spot me in the supermarket: I'm the guy obsessively fondling every goddamn can in the aisle like I'm a blind fetishist or something. But I'm really not at all crazy about flying, especially if there's no pressing reason to other than to get me to do it more (and of course, statistically, the more frequently you do it, the greater are your chances of dying while doing it-- so there) especially right before we're about to start trying to conceive. It'll make for an absolutely awful local news interview with my mom or sisters after we die over the Atlantic:

"And they were just about to start trying to have a baby.... *Boo hoo hoo!*"

Jesus-- fucking awful-- is that what I want the community to hear about me and my wife? During our honeymoon flight from Jakarta to Bali, the plane started going up and down like a fucking Yo-Yo, and that was all I could think about-- the inevitable, terrible interview sob-story that the vultures would just eat up:

"And *sniff sniff* they were on their honeymoon!"

Awful. Just fucking awful.

No thank you. I'll take that goddamn auto ferry, though. When's the last time one of those went down?

No, seriously-- will someone wikipedia that shit for me? I'm too scared to do it myself.


  1. Strains of Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" were running through my head as I read yr post. FYI, you would probably also hate taking the ferry from Buzzard's Bay, MA to Martha's Vineyard. Lots of shitting seagulls!

  2. I'm pretty sure boats are less safe than planes by some sizable margin.

    Heck, every mode of transport is less safe than flying. The main reason, I think, is because you have incredibly professional pilots in charge of planes. Trains and cars often have fat, greasy grunts behind the joystick/wheel.

    Are you really THAT much of a scaredy cat? :P

  3. I go to college in Bar Harbor, Maine - a really beautiful place, great hikes in Acadia national park (you've got mountains right by the ocean!), so I reccomend going there. Also, The Cat ferry goes right from Bar Harbor to Nova Scotia.


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