OK, so Xteen
and I were on a semi-vacation this week. It was a semi-vacation the way that all of my vacations are semi-vacations. When you are literally terrified to fly, like me, your time off is limited by the bounds of your automobile.
Xteen understands somewhat, but I know this will be an issue later. I hope to get over it as there are many places I want to see before I die and unless they start busting ass on trans-Atlantic bridges, I'm gonna have to hop on a plane. I have flown once before and that was pretty much enough for me. At least for the time being.
Not sure where my irrational fear of flying and airplanes came from. When I was a kid, we lived in a town near the main airport. We were right in the flight patterns and whenever I would hear the roar of a jet engine, I would scamper to the screen door in the back to see if the plane had "a mustache" or "teeth". The ones with mustaches (planes with engines attached to the main body of the plane) were significantly less scary to me than the ones with teeth (the big jets with multiple engines under the wings). What do you want? I was four. And mildly retarded.
This is an example of a scary plane with teeth:
Anyway, the odd part about my one and only flying excursion was that it was something I never intended to do. I entered in a radio contest in the hopes of getting some free CDs. What happened next was, needless to say, unexpected and pretty much unwanted.
I got a phone call from the station
while at work. Side note: March
used to work there as a DJ...how friggin cool is that?! The promotions dude on the other end of the phone informed me that I was the "grand prize" winner in their contest. Hoping that this was the mere formality that separated "some" free CDs from "an assload" of free CDs, I sounded naturally giddy. Until he told me what the grand prize consisted of:
An all expense, paid trip to Chicago, 3 days, 2 nights, as well as tickets to see the Dave Matthews Band
at historic Soldier Field.
Now, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, mainly because no one ever gave me a friggin horse to begin with, but my immediate reaction (and quite possibly what I said to him on the phone) was : "Oh shit!" Followed by: "Please tell me this is transferable". Needless to say, I was unable to get rid of this albatross of a prize package in exchange for money. Hell, I probably would have even traded it for a gift horse even though I had no place to keep it.
This "grand prize" sucked on 3 different levels:
- I would have to make my maiden flight to cash in. At the time, I was 30 years old and never even made a model airplane, nevermind been in a real one. It's something I was pretty much hoping to avoid for as long as I could.
- Given the fact that I never flew, my excursions across this great country of ours were fairly limited. Outside of my native New England, my main trips consisted of ventures to Orlando, Florida and friggin CHICAGO!!!! Of all the god-forsaken places they could have sent me, they send me to one of the two freaking places I have actually been before. Unreal. And last, but certainly far from least:
- I fucking HATE the Dave Matthews Band.
The only worse vacation would have been them telling me I was going to bungee jump into downtown Newark and then spend the next four hours oiling down Nick Lachey before getting to watch him shoot a video that lasts until 3 AM. Can I trade that for some hemlock?
Long story long, I took the trip on Xteen's urging and despite being petrified, I handled the flawless flight with her to Chicago fairly well. While on the plane, I even ate a banana, which is monumental since I never ate bananas before, but I figured that if I am going to start doing weird shit, I might as well go all out. Flying, eating bananas...you know...really cutting edge stuff. But that flight was pretty much my threshold. Two and half or so hours in a tube with no control over anything and not even getting to hear the audio associated with the showing of Spy Kids was a little much. I was getting pretty antsy when we started our descent and started wondering how in the world people can stay on a plane for ten hours or more without going absolutely insane.
Once in Chicago, I experienced immediate relief when we landed and that sweet relief lasted a grand total of about an hour and a half before I started to obsessively worry about the flight home. Another side note: if you are hoping to avoid anything that requires taking an intravenous antibiotic to cure, pass on kissing the ground in the terminal at O'Hare out of orgasmic release that your two feet are on solid ground.
We had a lot of fun hanging out in Chicago for sure. They put us up in this really artsy hotel in the theatre district, which we loved. We hit Navy Pier, the Field Museum, and Oprah's studio. You know, stuff you shouldn't go your lifetime without seeing.
We actually went to the concert, which was pretty much the downside of the whole trip. Soldier Field is enormous (where the Bears play football) and was filled with Dave Matthews Band fans, which was about as pleasant an experience as being in a football stadium filled with fans hoping to get a chance to oil down Nick Lachey before getting to watch him shoot a video that lasts until 3 AM.
One thing that did work in our favor at the show was the fact that there were notices all over the place saying that the opening act, Macy Gray, was unable to perform. While this was tremendous news to me, I was worried that, given the short notice, we would be treated to some hack local act who did ska versions of Red Hot Chili Peppers songs or something horrible like that. Instead...we got:
That completely ruled and the guy slayed us all. DMB came out after, which was very anti-climatic for us, and were OK. We actually left the show early to go back to the hotel and have a drink before we had to get up and come home. My stomach was already in knots and that wasn't because of I had to listen to 60,000 people singing along to "Ants Marching".
Once we get to O'Hare for our ride home, I notice that Xteen and I aren't sitting next to each other on the return flight. This is not happening. So, after remedying this (by getting a seat near the exit and being told that I need to open the exit door if there is an emergency...just what I needed to hear), we notice that the flight is severely delayed. We overhear someone from the airline tell other passengers that this is because there was "a plane crash in Boston".
That's all I needed to hear and I proceeded to calculate how much money it would take for us to rent a car to drive the half-country home. That wasn't happening either, so I pretty much just paced for a couple of hours while observing the strange behavior of some of the other passengers on our plane (this was 2 months before 9/11, but I was always paranoid about that sort of thing). I petrified about this plane crash thing, so I decide to call my mom back home. I ask her if anything is going on and she says "no". I think she is just trying to not make me nervous, because I am envisioning, if we are able to get back to Boston, that I would be treated to a sky-view vision of a jumbo jet on its back, engulfed in flames, with buzzards flying over it.
Needless to say, the flight home was a little tense.
We sat on the runway for like an hour while the patented mid-western thunderstorms started to roll in but except for some mild turbulance (and an annoyingly psychotic lady who kept saying that she couldn't sit in the exit seat row because she wasn't strong enough to open the door if the plane crashed), it was a pretty OK flight.
We arrive back in Boston to find out that the "plane crash" so eloquently spoken of back in the Windy City was a private two-seater that skidded off the runway and into a bush, resulting in the pilot walking away with what was medically described as an "owie" on his leg. Another side note: if you are hoping to avoid anything that requires taking an intravenous antibiotic to cure, pass on kissing the ground in the terminal at Logan Airport out of orgasmic release that your two feet are on solid ground.
So. Where was I? Oh yeah. Xteen and I were on semi-vacation this week, which revolved around us taking day trips around here because of my aforementioned and brief allusion to my mild displeasure with flying. We went to Northampton, downtown Boston to see Sia (great show!), Newport, RI, and Portsmouth, NH. All were a great time. Which leads me, finally, to the title of the blog.
The Saturday before our semi-vacation, Xteen got a bee in her bonnet about getting a haircut and maybe even doing something drastic. She comes back from the appointment, holding in her hand, a foot-long ponytail of curly red hair. Her new, short and stylish haircut really looks fantastic and to make the whole thing even better, she is donating the hair to Locks of Love, which is a very cool organization.
Now, this act put an albeit smaller bee in my own bonnet and caused me to want to get a haircut, though one not nearly as drastic. So, I go and get about 4 inches of hair taken off, so it is still considered "long", but not too outrageous. Maybe I'll grow mine back and do a Locks of Love thing myself...we'll see. Anyway, it's kind of funny that my hair is longer than my wife's now.
Fast forward to Tuesday when we are in Northampton. At like 5:05 PM, we walk into an antiques shop there and way down the back is the elderly shop owner, who, upon seeing us enter, informs us "We're closed, ladies."
Yep. To paraphrase Tom Jones, "I'm a lady. Whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm a lady."
I was willing to give the dude the benefit of the doubt, because despite the fact that I had about 4 days' worth of growth on my face, including a soul patch, and hardly lumber around like a lady, he was pretty old, probably didn't eat his carrots as a kid, and owned a shop in a town well known for their female couples. I can deal.
OK, so last night, Xteen and I go out for dinner about 10 minutes from our place, both clearly in crappy-ass moods because it is cold, rainy, and the end of our semi-vacation. We sit down in the booth and our waitress walks from behind me to our table and says:
I look up and this lovely Brazilian woman turns white and starts the "humuna-humuna-humuna" stumble trying to explain why she thought I was a lady. I thought it was pretty funny. And we still tipped her well. Who knows, maybe I'm a better looking gal than I am a guy?
Talk about the long-way around to a story, eh? Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go take the rollers out of my hair and put on some foundation. The chilly air makes me pale.