Tag Archives: Venturing Out

Keeping Flight Attendants from Spitting in your Drink

Yeah! Another delay!
Yeah! Another delay!

I just went to the fabulous Blog U conference last week, even though, like most hermits, I hate to travel. HATE. IT. I especially despise air travel because it includes other people in my personal space, breathing my air, giving me germs. Hey, airline bigwigs, could we put the seats just a little closer, and maybe make them smaller? In fact, why don’t we just offer a cheaper ticket if you sit on someone’s lap the whole way? The person holding you gets an even lower price.   Yes, I’m being sarcastic. We really do need a sarcasm font.

As I was trying to ball myself into half my size in my aisle seat on Southwest last week, I had a lovely chat with one of the flight attendants while she helped people cram their roller bags into the overhead compartments. While she said nothing about spitting in drinks, she did agree that people are carrying on TOO MUCH. In fact, she told me that when she began her job, she trained her parents on how to be better flyers. Now, I want to do the same for you. Here are some helpful travel tips from your friendly neighborhood hermit.

For the love of all that is sane, just check your bags.

On Southwest and Jet Blue, your first checked bag is FREE. On most other airlines, it’s $25. I’m not a frugal person, but even if you are, do you REALLY want to tote your bag everywhere? I mean, it’s likely that you have to connect in a huge airport like, gulp, Atlanta. Also, what about those gels? Do you really need to squeeze all of your health and beauty products into a quart sized bag?

If you are one of those people who insist on carrying on, for whatever reason, you are annoying. On my recent trip, I checked my bag so I could take my seat quickly and shove my purse under the seat in front of me. It took other people FOREVER to cram their bags in the overhead compartment. A couple of them almost dropped their bags on my head. What could be in there that must be protected and kept with you at all times? Nuclear secrets? Don’t be cheap! Just check the damn bag.

Don’t order a drink on short flights. 

Both of my flights last weekend were only an hour. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting them to do drink service, but they did. And most people actually ordered one! I know soda is free, but really? Do you need that Coke just because it’s free? Are you going to dehydrate on your 52-minute flight from Cleveland to Louisville? By the time the flight attendants take orders and deliver the drinks, you have about ten minutes to drink. Plus, if you carried on your huge roller bag and ordered a drink on a short flight, it probably has spit in it. I kid. I kid.

And then there are the liquor people. Now, I like a good martini or glass of wine every now and then, but even I, a NERVOUS flyer, will not order a drink on a short flight. Seriously, if you can’t get through 45 minutes in a plane without a scotch on the rocks, you need a meeting, not a drink.

Don’t bitch at the gate agents.

My first flight was delayed by about three hours. Believe me, I didn’t enjoy that as it gave me more time to sit and worry about dying in a fiery crash, but I didn’t complain to the gate agents. It would be pointless, as they do not control weather, mechanical issues, flight crew schedules, or anything else that causes delays.  They simply work as GATE agents. Their fathers do not own the airline. Cut them some slack and complain to the customer service department, if you must.

Do not let your little $^%&ers kick the backs of seats.

I know you love your little kids. I love my kid, too. I also taught my kid that while his mommy, daddy, and grandparents love him very much, the rest of the world merely tolerates him. The other passengers on the plane are tolerating your kid. Do not let him kick the backs of their seats. There may be someone like me with the it takes a village mentality who will correct your little snookums. While we are at it, just don’t bring your 2 year-old on the red eye from Hawaii. Ever.

That’s all I got. I would love to hear from you. Do you have any more anti-douchnozzle travel tips? I don’t travel often, so I know I’m missing some things. Any flight attendants out there? I would LOVE to hear from you. Leave me a comment and let’s talk about travel.

 Disclaimer: I have never had a flight attendant tell me that spitting in drinks actually happens on commercial flights in this or any other country. However, I did know a comedy club waitress who wiped her butt with a piece of cheese before putting it on a crabby customer’s burger. Be careful out there, people.

I’m not CRAZY; I’m just prepared!

I emailed my doctor last week to ask for an Ativan refill. Yes, I hate the phone so much that I email my doctor. If you have ever thought about calling me, read this.

Anyway, so I emailed the doctor to ask for Ativan, which I take for travel related anxiety. As a card-carrying hermit, I LOATHE airplanes, boats, and all other forms of transportation, mostly because I fear a burning or drowning related death from the failure of said forms of transportation.

My doctor sent a short note back stating that she would refill it THIS time (the 4th time in 2 years), but if my anxiety was getting worse then I should consider another medication. Please note, I only ask for Ativan twice a year, before holiday travel and summer travel. This gives me not quite enough .5-milligram tablets to take one per week, if I wanted to. So, if I were an addict, I wouldn’t be asking my doctor for refills; I would be walking down the street to the local high school where I’m sure there would be a larger supply.

The problem is my doctor is not the only person who assumes that I sit in corners and pop plastic shipping bubbles and worry about Doom’s Day. Apparently, I give off that vibe.

The next day, I was talking to my husband about the fact that I recently found out that there are indeed poisonous snakes in central Ohio. Most people who live here say there aren’t any, so I decided to Google it because I like to actually research things and not just “talk out my ass” as my step-daddy used to say. So, after I told my husband that we do indeed have poisonous snakes, he said, “You can’t live your life worrying about things like snakes.”

To which I replied, “Being aware of things is not being worried about them. There would not be safety regulations or air traffic controllers if there were not others who choose to be aware.” Or something like that.

OK. I’m going to admit it. It pisses me off something fierce when people tell me to “chill out” or “relax.” Friends, it’s called acute awareness not anxiety. I’m not always worried (unless I’m on a plane); I’m just aware of possible ways to die or be uncomfortable and actively trying to avoid them. This is why I carry a huge purse full of medications, including GAS medicine. You’re welcome.

See, I’m totally aware of all emergencies.

People who are not aware or never think about what can go wrong think those of us who are aware of risks as crazy.  I think they are wrong.  They assume everything is okee dokee and then they are surprised when it’s not. Here are some facts:

  • There are snakes, and you should be aware of this if you are an outdoorsy person so you don’t step on one. They hate to be stepped on.
  • People do hurt each other. If you haven’t read my Bobby Kent blog, please do. His childhood best friend and a group of new acquaintances murdered Bobby. We need to teach our kids to BE AWARE of toxic friendships, rather than teaching them to assume all will be fine.

My overall point is that bad things happen every day. Being aware of this does not make someone in need of constant sedation. As Tony Montana says, “you need people like me.” People like me make people like you AWARE of danger so that it can be avoided or maybe even fixed.

So, thanks for listening to my rant. Are you acutely aware?  How do you deal with well-meaning advice?

Middleoffrickennowhere, Ohio

I almost shanked Robotica, my GPS, last week. My husband and I named her this because she sounds like a robot. Clever, huh? Actually, we have named every GPS we have ever had Robotica. This one is the one that came with the VW Jetta (we named her “Judy”) I got last summer. So, maybe we should call her Judy Robotica. Decisions, decisions.

I’m the type of person who would rather pee on the side of the road than drive on a congested highway with lots of bathroom options. Plus, there was a thunderstorm brewing, and I wanted to stay south of the storm. So, I wanted to take the more rural of the two available routes from my home to a conference I had to attend at Miami University (unfortunately, the one in Oxford, Ohio not Florida) for my day job as English professor. Note to my neighbors: I work for an online university. No, I don’t sell Amway or Mary Kay, and I would NEVER sell AVON. Yes, I’m really in charge of educating others while I wear Oscar the Grouch jammies. I know; it scares me, too.

Robotica is clearly trying to kill me. Not only does she give me exactly two seconds notice before telling me to turn or exit a highway, but she always wants me to take the crazy busy highway route to everything since it will get me there about two minutes faster. She doesn’t understand that I am an English geek, and I want to take the road less traveled like Robert Frost. So, for this trip, I relied on a map and printed directions until Robotica stopped telling me to make a u-turn and just recalculated like a good girl.

I’m not going to lie; Robotica was right. The rural way was a little scary for someone who grew up in the Fort Lauderdale area. First of all, cop cars were sixty-nined in medians on I-71 so they could easily start chasing someone in either direction. The cops were probably having lunch and talking about March Madness, but I still hit the brakes every time I saw them. The people behind me loved this as I was driving like a frightened hermit to begin with. I don’t get out much.

Only half of the trip was on I-71. The other half was through Deliverance. No offense to any readers who live in rural areas, but when you grow up in the city, the country can be scary. I’m used to my little cookie-cutter suburb (think Weeds without the pot-selling widow). On this trip, I drove through areas with churches, farms, cute houses, a state prison, crosses on the side of the road, and a TON of retirement communities. And what is up with the big red stars on houses? Is this a secret signal to Santa or something?

There were also a lot of buildings that could only be meth labs. I could tell by the boarded up windows and toothless folks standing outside. I wanted to take pictures, but I also wanted to live. I didn’t think the meth heads would kill me, but I knew I would end up driving through a lab, church, or elderly community while trying to focus my camera. Hey husband, you are driving me to my next conference in the middle of nowhere, even if you insist on calling me Miss Daisy.

The HIGHLIGHT of my trip was seeing a tattoo place that looked like it was built of Lincoln Logs. As I drove by, I wondered if they did a lot of tattoos of Honest Abe. I remembered that it was located in Trenton, Ohio so I could Google-stalk the place and get a picture. It turns out that it’s actually called Prodigy Tattoo Studio, and not the Lincoln Museum and Ink Place. The very talented and kind Jeff Davis owns the place. If you know me or read this blog, you know that it is my goal to be that last untattooed person in the world so that my corpse will be preserved and put on display in museums. Anyway, even though I am untattooed, I know art when I see it. Go to the Prodigy site and check out Jeff’s work. He was nice enough to send me a picture of his “Lincoln Log” location since I have not learned to take pictures while driving yet, but I have learned to find people on Facebook. Thanks, Jeff!

I’m home now. It ended up being a great trip because I got to see some co-workers. When you work online, you don’t really see the people you work with very often. When it was time to drive home, I decided to just follow Robotica’s directions and take the more urban route. Of course, the bitch took me the back roads way. I give up.

Note: April is Keep America Beautiful Month on Dropcam. If you are a blogger and would like to write about your part of the world, visit https://www.dropcam.com/home-security .

©2014 http://prodigytattoo.com/
©2014 http://prodigytattoo.com/

A Hermit's Black Friday

“Why don’t we stop by Target?” I asked my husband and my mother, as we pulled out of the parking lot of an apartment complex we were looking at for my mom. “We have an hour until we have to meet everyone for lunch, and mom wanted to look at small Christmas trees.  Plus, I really have to pee.” I HATE public bathrooms, but it didn’t make sense to drive all the way back to my mom’s apartment. My husband looked at me like I’d been huffing Windex, and asked me how to get to Target.  He was driving our rental car around my hometown, Hollywood, Florida.

I asked my mom where the Target in Pembroke Pines was, since we were meeting some of my closest high school friends for lunch at Burger and Beer Joint on Pines Boulevard. Mom told my husband where to go (not like that — she actually likes him), and we arrived at Target.  It was so crowded.  There were not even handicapped parking spaces available.  My mom has a handicapped parking permit.

“Wow. It’s so crowded,” I said, while thinking about how much I missed Ohio.

“Well, it is Black Friday, Lisa,” My husband said, while pulling the car over to one side in the lot.  “You ladies get out here.  I will go fight for a spot.” I totally forgot it was Black Friday, since, as your token introverted friend, I do all of my shopping online.  My husband is a gem for dropping us off out front and not smacking me.

So, my mom and I went into Target, and headed to the restrooms.  Holy cow! I mean. I’ve been in gas station bathrooms before, and Walmart bathrooms, but the Target ladies room in Pembroke Pines needs some kind of honorable mention in the International Nasty Bathroom competition.  If this competition doesn’t exist, it should.  I realize it was Black Friday, but come on, Target.  Don’t make me regret hating Walmart.

As my mom and I exited the bathroom, my husband entered the store, having found a parking space.  We walked around Target, trying to find that tree.  We could barely look at the trees because the folks at Target had carts full of merchandise blocking the Christmas tree display. We squeezed by a cart to get a look at the trees.  The whole blockade reminded me of the liquor section in any grocery store in Indiana on a Sunday.  Prior to moving to Columbus, we lived in Fort Wayne, IN (THE Armpit of America).  So, I know all about carts blocking the items you actually want to buy.  Man, was I glad to get out of there.

So, after an unsuccessful trip to Target, we headed over to Burger and Beer Joint for lunch.  Through the beauty of Facebook, I have kept in touch with A LOT of friends from high school.  Since I am a touch on the introverted side, I made lunch plans with a really small group of them.  Next time, I want to make individual plans with my besties.  I don’t feel like I had enough time with anyone.  Like a textbook introvert, I don’t like to hang out with gobs of people, but I LOVE the friends I do have.

My friend H, who I met at the bus stop on the first day of 8th grade at a new school, brought her adorable son and niece.  The kids colored pictures for Chris and me that I will hang on my fridge as soon as I unpack them.  I will put them here for your enjoyment.  H and her son and niece could model.  Seriously, I told H that, too.  They are all such gorgeous people.

My friend T has not aged one bit and is still the sweetest person ever.  She brought me a card and a Starbuck’s gift card.  T and I met in drafting class in 8th grade, and she still KNOWS me.  I love this girl.

C brought her boyfriend.  It was nice to meet him in person as I had seen pictures and read his funny comments on Facebook.  It was so nice to see them together and see my friend so happy.  They are a beautiful couple

M, who I never hung out with in high school, was thrilled to have a grown-up lunch.  Her two kids, both models, for real, were at home with dad.  M is a prime example of everything that is good about Facebook.  I hardly knew her in school, but she is one of my best, most genuine friends, thanks to this newfangled Internet.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, and a little sad.  There was a lot of talking and interaction, which can drain a hermit, but it was with people I adore.  I loved seeing everyone and catching up.  I miss living in Florida only when I think of my friends and family.  I would really like it if everyone would just move to Ohio.  I’m sure all Floridians are jumping at the chance to shovel snow.  I guess I will keep visiting.

Beautiful Art!
Beautiful Art!


Humidified Hermit

Check out the hair.
Check out the hair.

For the third time this fall, I am a traveling hermit. This time, we are visiting the family in Florida for Thanksgiving. Way back when I lived in South Florida, oh say the first 35 years of my life or so before moving to Fort Wayne, IN (AKA the armpit of America — we’ll get to that in another blog), I used to HATE it when the tourists would complain about the heat and humidity.  They would complain in their New York accents. “How do you stand this heat? Ugh, and the air is so thick.”  My favorite was, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas when it’s this HOT!”  I wanted to tell them to take I-95 north if they don’t like it, and that Jesus was born in the desert.  Even your token atheist friend knows that.  I didn’t say either.  I just shrugged and said something about just being used to it.  Friends, a sad day has arrived for me.  I am no longer used to the Florida climate.  I have become, gulp, a Northerner.

I’m coming to you live from the guest room at my father in-law’s house where I am sitting directly under the ceiling fan, which is on the second to highest setting.  It was on the highest setting after I emerged from the steamy post-shower bathroom almost certain that I was going to have a heat stroke.  You see, back up north (Florida people, please don’t hit me for saying “back up north.”) I am used to being a little chilly when I get out of the shower.  I usually have to put on a nice, warm, fluffy bathrobe after I bathe.  Then, I have to blow-dry my hair ASAP.  Today, I decided not to dry my hair, but rather to just give in to the humidity.  I was certain that I would catch on fire if I aimed hot air at my head. So, “beachy” waves it is.

I remember tourists complaining about the clouds, too.  They usually wanted to go home with tans, so cloudy or rainy days were not fun.  Well, after enduring a lot of cloudy days in Ohio, I was looking forward to some sun from the Sunshine State.  It’s not happening today.  It is almost as dreary here as in Ohio, only with palm trees and an ocean.  Oh, listen to me.  I’m complaining like a Yankee again.

So, while I was writing the first draft of this blog (Yes, this is actually the REVISED

The Sunshine State?
The Sunshine State?

version.), my father-in-law told Chris and I to get ready because we were going to “somewhere near the ocean” for lunch.  It ended up being a beautiful place named Pietros on the Ocean. The food was great, and I got a good picture of the dreary beach.  It kind of looks like the Pacific Northwest out there today.

In a couple of days, we are heading down to where I grew up, Hollywood, where it will likely be hotter, more humid, and have more tourists.  You know how we introverts adore crowds.  The good news is that I will get to see family and close friends.  The bad news is that I will not be there long enough to see everyone, and I feel bad about that.  I will continue to “see” everyone on Facebook, though, where weather and tourists do not exist