Tag Archives: road trips

big, bigger, biggest

i’m pretty much a city girl and a scaredy cat so the combination means i have had major anxiety attacks all through south dakota, wyoming and montana.  jeez, there’s so much open space.  on the other hand, some of the folks i’m meeting i wouldn’t trust taking to times square without a significant dose of ativan—for them.

everything in south dakota is bigger, including the pets.  this dinosaur on a leash is outside 1880 town in jackson county south dakota!

everything in south dakota is bigger, including the pets. this dinosaur on a leash is outside 1880 town in jackson county!

 

a few years ago my italian friend federico cenci was writing a book about my grandfather and i invited him to stay in my home in winnetka, illinois.  he stayed for a month and we traveled to the university of illinois rare books and manuscripts library for extra material. mostly, he worked in the guest room. one afternoon he asked if we could take a day trip somewhere to see the sights.

 

big shout out to winnetka, illinois which was my home for close to a quarter century!

big shout out to winnetka, illinois which was my home for close to a quarter century!

 

“where would you like to go?”  I asked federico.

“mount rushmore,” he replied.  “i’d like to see the presidents.”

“uh, you understand mount rushmore is like a three or four day road trip?”

actually, mount rushmore is a fourteen hour and twenty six minutes 930 miles road trip if traffic is perfect, you’re wearing depends, no doz is delivered through an i.v., and you trick out the back of the car with an endless tank of gas.

federico was crestfallen.

“i’m sorry,”  i said.  “name somewhere else you’d like to see.”

“niagra falls,”  he said, brightening considerably.

niagra falls is wonderful but it’s still a good nine hours and eighteen minutes under the same conditions described.

in a rough justice compromise, we drove to chester, illinois to visit the birthplace of popeye comics creator e c seger.

federico hosted a website devoted to e c seger's beloved popeye.  in chester, we took pictures of the popeye statues.

federico hosted a website devoted to e c seger’s beloved popeye. in chester, we took pictures of the popeye statues.

 

federico returned to rome and finished his book.  on any given day, he can drive from rome to milan (5 hours, 13 minutes), make arrangements for brunch in pisa (3 hours 36 minutes), or spend a weekend in naples (2 hours 11 minutes).   his idea of how large the united states is/was a bit skewed.  oddly, i have the same problem.  i just had no idea how many miles get tucked up under my tires.

 

so this morning i pulled into the parking lot of the mount rushmore national park outside keystone, south dakota.  the usual tour buses of japanese tourists and refugees from aarp.   families with kids who are more interested in the concessions stand.  a lady berating the staff because she wanted to climb either lincoln, washington, teddy or tommy.  the teenagers taking selfies.  i sat down on a bench and took it all in.  and thought to myself…..i gotta tell federico that i made it.

but of course, i have verizon phone service so i couldn’t.

 

 

 


sarah, you got this one!

while i was on the road heading into washington, d.c., i got a phone call from my facebook friend sarah.  she lives with her parents in detroit and is a beautiful, funny gal with a big heart and a great future.  sarah doesn’t leave her house and suffers with agoraphobia.

agoraphobia comes from the greek word phobia which means fear and agora which means marketplace or meeting place.  the agora was the center of greek urban life and so someone who is agoraphobic quite literally is afraid of being out and about.  this agora is pretty much in need of some renovations.

agoraphobia comes from the greek word phobia which means fear and agora which means marketplace or meeting place. the agora was the center of greek urban life and so someone who is agoraphobic quite literally is afraid of being out and about. this agora is pretty much in need of some renovations.

sarah is considering moving to texas to be with her boyfriend.  what a wonderful future they might have.  but sarah is worried about the eighteen hour drive.  if it is difficult to leave the house to walk to the corner market, an eighteen hour trip is going to be a challenge.  in her favor is that her boyfriend is an understanding and caring man and he will be driving (sarah doesn’t have a driver’s license).

i told her that she won’t be making an eighteen hour trip.  she’ll be making a series of hour or two hour trips or maybe half hour trips, or maybe even fifteen minute trips.  i asked her to consider purchasing an air card so that she can be connected to the internet and can distract herself by doing much of what she does when she’s at home.

the real secret for me is to make wherever i am my home, so that there is no agora to be scared of.  here, some kids from the marine scouts program wash my house.

the real secret for me is to make wherever i am my home, so that there is no agora to be scared of. here, some kids from the marine scouts program wash my house.

and of course, i invite some friends into my home.

sarah, you got this trip!  you can travel because the whole world, well, it ain’t an oyster, it ain’t a small world after all, no, no, the world is YOUR home!


tell the investment world to zuck off!

i am very grateful to facebook.  if you have an account, you are grateful too.  even if you don’t say so.  facebook is how you keep up with your family and friends–yeah, right, but it’s also where you hang out, play farmville, castleville and diamond dash, post pictures of your friends lying on a couch passed out with a bottle of jim beam, and where you play the next flashmob coup d’etat of your home country.  facebook is a party room in which you are always the v.i.p.  facebook is grateful to you because you give the company its biggest asset:  the most comprehensive user database in existence.  it’s an n.r.a. mailing list on steroids.

in visiting my facebook friends, i have used planes, trains, and automobiles. when you get a flat tire, take it off the car and pour soapy water on it. wherever you see bubbles is where you have a leak! i am working out the details on fixing this one!

facebook was founded in mark zuckerberg’s harvard dorm room in 2004.  i joined up in 2007, mostly so i could troll through my sons’ friends lists in order to ascertain whether they were being targeted by predators.  i got addicted.  i then in 2011 i decided to make the facebook experience a real one–and resolved to visit each of my facebook friends in person.

facebook went public this spring and was initially offered at $38 per share.  this past friday, facebook closed at slightly under $23.  investors are dumping the stock, in part because facebook faces a challenge in servicing users who have iphones, android and tablets.  somehow i think the zuckerberg team will figure this one out.

christian bertelsen–chief investment dude at the global financial private capital company–calls facebook a “tomorrow stock” and he’s right.  facebook is nothing to invest in if you are going to check out the stock price every day, every hour, every minute.  which means that the exact sort of person who uses facebook–and updates their status every day, every hour, every minute–is exactly the wrong candidate to be a facebook shareholder.

mark, i believe in you. actually, i believe in the incredible database that you’ve accumulated which allows companies to target advertising with such precision. which is why i keep seeing ads on my page about how to get rid of wrinkles and belly fat. p.s. thank you and facebook friend tony tyner for the birthday wishes!

 

so i say buy facebook stock.  buy lots of it.  and then don’t check for updated status.  give it three years, which on a facebook timeline is like eternity.  amazon went through a similar bust-o and folks were talking about it being “just a bookstore” on the internet–now amazon is retailer to the world.

mark zuckerberg has the best incentive to make facebook work. he was worth $19.1 billion on the day of the i.p.o. and now you’re worth a paltry $11.9 billion (after selling off 30 million shares to raise money to feed the i.r.s.).  it’s hardly enough money to live on.

mark, you can send me diamonds out of your petty cash drawer! i don’t think you’re motivated by the money–as you have said, “we don’t build services to make money, we make money so we can build better services.”

 

so we gotta ask:

 


disaster!!!! and then. . .

i was getting ready for seeing facebook friend janet sussman.  and for the trip.  i thought i was good at packing a bag.  chargers,  black t-shirt, another black t-shirt.  i did spend some time flapping my wings worrying about getting a two day trip in the chiaruggi bag. .  .  and then i freaked!!

i don’t know janet very well.  we have mutual friends who are in theater.  she’s in “chorus line” in march and i hope she comments on this post to tell us all about how to buy tickets!  but this was an emergency-and i started the cancellation calls. . . i am such a damn failure.

so i called janet and said i have lost my wallet and i’m doomed.  can’t do the ahem, provocative dance class that i promised to attend. . .  and this gal showed up with chocolate, strawberries, a bottle of wine and great attitude.

here is the result of fifteen minutes of getting the janet sussman incredible love:

i admire her.  i’m glad she’s my friend. i always think that being by myself is going to be  the best thing when i’m in a bad mood.  maybe being with a friend is better.  the evening ended with facebook friend charlie seymour coming over and the two of them sang show tunes at the piano.  charlie’s dog cuddled up with me on the couch.   i felt like i was at a going away party hosted by my face to facebook friend #8!

p.s. i’m an idiot is acknowledged.  i wonder if there’s a freudian aspect–like i wanted to stay home. . . ?

p.p.s. i had been at a lunch earlier in the day with stephen–my ex–and chris nelson, the director of parent relations at oberlin.  stephen had been kind enough to drive me back home.  i had dropped the wallet in the car.  stephen was kind enough to drive up from the city and drop off the wallet around midnight.

thank you stephen!  thank you janet!  and thank you charlie and eddie!

this morning, i’m off adventuring!


the face to facebook project is underway!

it’s january first and i have just 365 days to meet 324 friends!  i sure hope reggie gholston does not get redeployed to baghdad!  i hope i can get over my natural aversion to aeroflot airlines!

 

step one:  index cards.  i’m a big believer in them.  i’ve been going through my friends and each friend gets an index card.  i’m trying to organize them by geography so i can consolidate.  some surprises:  jeffrey cokefair has apparently disappeared off the face of the earth and steve ware has moved to brooklyn.  also, i’m friends with two newspapers–the winnetka current and the winnetka talk–as well as phototronics*.  i’m not sure how to have some quality time with those last three friends.

step two:  set up an itinerary!  i already have a grand midwestern tour in mind.  a stepdaughter, a bartender, my son joseph’s best friend from high school, a guy who writes operas, my best friend from high school and his wife, and a curious couple from kankakee.  it will take three days minimum for the road trip.  one of the reasons why i think this project is good for me is that i’m agoraphobic.  i don’t like to leave the house and can sometimes go for days without actually talking or interacting in an “actual” way with anyone.  i can sometimes go several weeks without actually crossing the borders of my town.  i wonder if facebook allows agoraphobics to give in to their natural impulses but at the same time think of themselves as very social.  it’s certainly done that for me!

 

*facebook told me that phototronics is having a birthday today.  i wonder if i’m supposed to send an e-card to a photo processing store!