Thursday, January 17, 2013

Farewell Old Friend

Farewell oh transporter of my young children.  When we first met, you were a pristine piece of automotive engineering.  We needed you desperately.  After all, you were the status symbol of a young family with little kids!  Cows gave their lives for you.  You were smooth as a newborns behind.  We were proud to have you in our family.  You protected our children, entertained with movies and carried us in comfort to our destinations. 
You endured the minor spills of Cheerios and candy and crumbs.  Your windshield was blemished by projectiles from the road.   Then our dog Molly decided that she didn’t like riding in you, so she threw up on the floor.  Then we had learned from our mistakes and let her throw up out the window. 
We hung our young son out the side to poop in the snow… while he peed on the floor…  You happily allowed a full gallon of milk seep into the spare tire well.  But you made sure that the entire carpeting absorbed as much as it could.  You allowed me to essentially hose you down- on the inside.  You have smelled like a thousand high school boys gym socks ever since.  You let our son put felt in your CD player.  When we couldn’t coax you to go backward, a friend told us “I got a guy” and we listened to him.  Although you were fixed, we learned that now we didn’t need to put on the brakes before we made you go- very safe…  When I brought this up with the friend who referred us to the friend, we found out that he was in jail for selling meth...

You let us close the garage door before you were all the way in, so your namesake was shorn off in shame.  You took us part of the way to Lake Powell, until you decided to let your heart run, but your legs didn’t know it was time to go.  When we subsequently abandoned you by the side of the road with a note saying “take me and fix me”, you stayed put and guarded over the boxes of discarded fruit that simply would not fit in the caravan vehicle that took us while you waited patiently in the hot sun for someone to fix you.  On the way back from that trip, when I went to the shop where you were taken, I had to jump a fence and avoid and keep an eye out for the junkyard dog- who turned out to simply be an elderly fella who just wanted to be petted. 

When there was nobody there to give you back to us, I had to search the grounds for the man who fixed you- worried that I’d find him dead in a trailer.  When he said that you were fine, I was incredulous.  Were you simply cramping up?  For the next year, you showed no signs of relapsing.  But when you did, you really did.  We had you fixed so that your heart would communicate with your legs and you seemed great… until we went to San Diego and your legs gave out again as we reached the summit of the pass that takes us to town.  The fact that you made it to that point was a miracle as we could essentially coast the rest of the way to a respectable establishment.  But there they told us that whomever fixed you before used voodoo and cadaver parts.  We realized that we had been duped.  But by this time, you were old.  Was it still worthwhile to keep you going?  Not our wonderful chariot… Not my wonderful chariot- for you see, the matron of the family had already written you off and cursed your very existence.  However, I still believed.  I still believed that you were a trooper and that you still had time.  We put the reindeer antlers and red nose on you one more time this Christmas.  Sure you made lots of funky noises and I worried that one of your shoes would simply fall off one day.  Sure the kids knew the “tricks” to open your doors and sure you only acknowledged that you were locked every once in a while- no rhyme or reason.  Sure, two strange dents appeared on your roof- as if someone had closed a garage door on you.  But nobody fessed up.  You may have had random wires hanging out from under the steering column, but by golly, those are simply age spots…  

When we decided to drive to California for a week and we conspicuously loaded up the sedan instead of you, I think you knew it was close to the end.  Even when the kids protested that the car was so small for a long trip, I saw that tear come from your headlight- even though you tried hiding it.

Well, two days ago, with a few bald tires and after 150,000 miles, one of your shoes wore out.  Thankfully, I was on a surface street so I appreciate the courtesy.  I took you to a shady part of town and paid a guy $10 to patch that shoe- cash only, no receipt, no questions asked.

You knew that it was over at that time didn’t you?  When I finally told mom to take some time to look into other options, she happily complied.  And within another six hours, your replacement had been found.  But don’t fret.  We didn’t leave you for another of your kind- the trophy wife, “this year’s model”.  No, that part of our life is over.  The kids are old enough and there will be no more.  The needs are different.  Feel safe in knowing that it wasn’t you, it was us… it was us being done with you…  Farewell oh Honda Odyssey.  What an Odyssey it has been.

Air Travel For A Dummy

I don't fly much. I love flying, and when younger, I was blessed to have travelled a good amount- Hawaii, Europe, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Korea, across the U.S., etc. I knew my planes and had ridden on everything that was around.

But as an adult, my flying frequency has dwindled. We drive to California to visit grandma.  Some buddies fly to Arizona to visit during spring training (where I live), and I'm an appraiser, so I never have time to go anywhere, nor do I typically need to for my profession.

So when with my new company, I was invited to visit corporate headquarters in Northern California, I got a chance to take a trip. Packed, boarding pass, carry on, on time, good to go...

When going through the TSA checkpoint I was interested to see the new full body scanners in action, but I'd been used to taking off my shoes and belt and emptying my pockets.  Everyone was pleasant and it went pretty smoothly.

When they had a second person do a quick pat down, I was cool. No invasive groping. But then they asked me to step over to another area. They let me out my shoes back on, and my belt and fill my pockets- even get my tablets closed up. But then the girl asked if had any sharp objects. "No ma'am, no sharp objects." She asked this as she was rummaging through my carry on bag- the bag I take to work with me every day, with a few books, pens, business cards, etc. it's one of those bags with a bunch of pockets.

So when I confidentially told her I had no sharp objects- like Penn and Teller asking "is this your card?", she pulled out my leatherman. "Oh shit!"

"Oh man, I totally forgot about that, I never fly and had no idea that I had in there. I'm so sorry!"

She looked at me for a beat and I asked "now what?"

She coolly replied "you can check it"
"But I already checked my bag. What other options do I have?"
"You can mail it to yourself or throw it away"
"What do I have to do to mail it to myself?"
"Go back out, find a place to package it and mail it"
"Yeah, I don't have time for that. Can you save it til I come back?"
"How bout you take it home and give me your phone number and ill call you when I get back?"
".... Ok... Dang that was a wedding groomsmen gift... Alright, chuck it"
Lesson learned- I guess. But letting a shaved head guy with a knife go through without further grilling was pretty lucky I guess.