Tag Archives: Travel

A Cautionary Tale

Three days ago, my computer locked up. This was a problem because I was in the middle of posting grades for my university students, and my impotence with the situation sent me into a dither. Thank God for the Geeks, who found the problem after a quick diagnostic. I had a simple software incompatibility. They fixed me and I’m back in business. Grades were posted on time, thanks to my dear friend Ron, who loaned me a laptop with all the software I needed and understood. But what if Ron hadn’t been available? What do we do when we’re suddenly without computer? No calendar, no ability to work, no email, and a not-exactly-current backup.

Fortunately, my tale ends well, and I’m making plans to prepare for the next time this happens, for surely it will happen again.

But let me tell you another story.

In September, Al and I went on a cruise. We made it to the cruiseport to check in well ahead of time, only to find 2,000 people sitting in chairs, waiting. The cruise computers were down. We waited three hours before being allowed to board. Needless to say, everybody was low-blood-sugar testy, as we all anticipated going aboard for lunch. Fast forward a delicious ten days, and it’s time to leave.  We get to the airport and the airline’s computers were down. This delayed our flight. We get to Chicago, to Immigration/Customs and guess what? Computers were down. This made us late for our connecting flight. We race to the gate that is listed on the big Departure board. The flight has already boarded, but the gate attendant opened the door for us and let us race down the jetway to the plane, but someone was sitting in our seats!

Guess what? This plane was going to San Francisco, not Portland. The computer on the Departure board had it wrong. We had to run, again, to a completely different concourse to catch our flight, which was, conveniently enough for us, late.

We got home all right, and against all odds, our luggage arrived with us. The whole thing has now become a squirmy memory of difficulty in traveling, particularly international travel. But more than that, it seems like a portent of events to come. A very squirmy thought indeed. And that was just one day of travel for two people.

We are horrendously dependent on technology. This in itself is not a bad thing, except that I expect that we’re horrendously unprepared for an internet meltdown. This country, and perhaps the entire world would momentarily grind to a halt.

Would that be a bad thing? Maybe not, unless you’re stuck at O’Hare airport in Chicago. Or worse.

It’s worthwhile to give a thought to our personal dependence on this technology.  I’d love to hear your conclusions.

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The Little Bucket List

I was talking with my good friend Mike Sack the other day and he said he was making his “little bucket list.” I asked him to explain, and he said that after all the years he and John have been living in Seattle, there are so many things right there in the city and environs that they’ve always said they wanted to do but never done. Isn’t that the truth?

Usually, “bucket lists” are grand schemes. Sail around the horn. Fly cross country in a balloon. Raft the Colorado through the Grand Canyon… But what about the amazing little sights and events and natural wonders in our own back yards? Where I live, in Oregon, they are legion, and my eyes, thanks to Mike, have been newly reopened to them.

Al and I regularly take what we call “ExplOregon” days and weekends, where we visit a place we’ve not been before, but it’s been a while since we’ve done that. And there are so many other things that I’ve always meant to do that are right here, twenty minutes or an hour away that would take an hour or a day to do.

I don’t know about you, but long-distance travel isn’t much fun any more. I don’t mind sticking close to home for the next year or so, but now that I see the local, experiential riches that are on our little piece of note paper stuck to the refrigerator, I’m happy to be right here.

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Filed under connections, Friends, Fun, Possibilities, Travel, Vacation

Investing in friendships

I just got home from a long weekend trip to visit friends I don’t often get to see. We had a great time. I enjoyed the break from my work/school routine, the Oregon winter, and got to see sun, thrilling desert and important people.

On the complicated and frustrating way home (travel can be such a pain in the ass), I realized that investing in friends and family is the most rewarding effort possible. Spending time with each other, even if it’s just watching television side by side, lets our spirits commune. A cup of coffee (or ice water, as the case may be) for an hour at the kitchen breakfast bar is more important than a thousand emails.  I mean I know this. I’ve always known this.

But this trip, for some reason, turned my head around. None of us is getting any younger, and some time I’ll go to Arizona and find that I have one fewer friend to visit. That will be a sincerely bad day. But it will be much less horrible because of the trip I just had–the time I just invested–in wonderful friendships.

So I say this: If there’s someone you want to visit, get on with it. Time’s wasting. Your relationship is languishing. Forget the stock market and invest yourself in the most important, lasting, reality in the universe.

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Filed under Aging, connections, family, Friends, girlfriends, Personalities, Possibilities, relationships, Spirituality, time, Travel