So, what’d I miss?
I’m just coming up for air after having spent a two-week vacation on the East coast, where I spent time in Manhattan, Connecticut and the Berkshires. In each place I stayed, there was either no time to turn on an electronic device, or I was in a place that had no cell phone or Internet connection. I literally have no idea what has been happening in the world while I’ve been gone. I’m writing this as I’m waiting to board a plane home, so believe me when I say that other than being reasonably certain we’re not at war with Canada, I have no idea what I’ve missed.
Have the Olympics started? Has Texas suceeed? Have we moved on from the idiotic “when he said ‘it,’ was he referring to roads or your kid’s lemonade stand” debate? Did anyone bother to fix the economy while I was gone?
If people could just list at least one thing I missed in the world or the League in the comments sections, I’d consider it a solid.
My vacation might well have been called In-Law Tour 2012!, since the main thrust of it was for us to reconnect with all of my wife’s immediate family members. And it was crazy busy. In Manhattan I got to see both Book of Mormon and Peter and the Star Catcher on Broadway, and – even better – got to spend an evening drinking beers with fellow Leaguer Mark Thompson. I don’t normally like to do things when traveling that I can just as easily do at home, but after tiring of my kids constant requests – (these requests came approximately every 15 minutes after we left Portland) – we went to go see Dark Night Rises in Connecticut. The Berkshires had a great blueberry festival my sister-in-law and her partner helped organize; plus, the peaceful quiet of being entirely shut off from email, phone calls, internet browsing and television was rejuvenating.
Here are four quick observations about the East Coast and its denizens, while it’s all still fresh in my head:
1. The disparaging reputation New Yorkers have in Middle America is, I think, a by-product of Middle Americans not spending any time in New York. My experience with New Yorkers on this trip matched all of my previous experiences: everyone I met in Manhattan was friendly, helpful and interesting.
2. Even though they are incredibly nice, East Coasters do seem to have a different mindset than people in the Pacific Northwest. There’s a sense of urgency about everything here that I don’t feel back home. I love spending time here, but it will be nice to get back to a more laid-back vibe.
3. I think people on the East Coast are afraid of the rain. It rained at least once in each place we stayed, and in each place it really seemed to freak people out. We’d be in a diner and it would start to rain, and everyone would stop eating and stare out the window with a look of mild panic; they hadn’t brought umbrellas into the restaurant – how were they ever going to make it back to their cars? At one point in Connecticut we were in a public library so that we could use their wi-fi to assist my mother-in-law with some computer issues, and people there kept asking the librarian if the city was going to close the building early because there were reports of thunder storms approaching. I found this all to be quite curious, because I live in Portland. It rains so often in Portland that no one bothers with umbrellas. If it’s the middle of July and you’re going on a picnic and it rains, you say “Fish it!” and go anyway, because you’ve waited nine months for a sunny day and you’re not going to let a complete lack of sun get in the way of you having one, damn it.
4. New Englanders have entire conversations about how to get places in their cars. Everyone – and I mean everyone – has their own strongly held opinions about which combination of directions that leads from point A to point B is The Correct Route. As a West Coast person, I find these conversations tiring.
An East Coast Conversation About Directions:
Me: Hey, it was really great meeting you guys. If you’ll excuse me, I need to hit the road for Tanglewood.
Person A: Tanglewood, eh? Well, you’re going to want to take the 373. But to get there, you’ll want to take the old Miller road and –
Person B: No, don’t take 373, that’ll take forever! You’ll want to take the 9 over to the 1 all the way to I-84.
Me: Oh thanks, but I have Google maps on my phone, so –
Person A: No, don’t have him go 84! He’ll have to go through Westbury! Look, you want to go down the old Miller road till you pass the third Dairy Queen. But you wanna be careful – the second Dairy Queen doesn’t have signage, so you’ll want to look for Kyle’s yellow Explorer in the parking lot. Kyle’s the owner of that Dairy Queen. He bought it from the McKenzie’s back in ’84, you know, and –
Person B: No, he bought it in ’79, and you actually want to go past the Third Dairy Queen until you pass the Meyer’s farm, and then you want to take the left, but the soft left, not the big left, and if you see the Danburry Mall you’ll know you’re going the wrong direction, and you’ll want to…
Me: [Stops listening and starts going through old email on phone]
This phenomenon actually makes sense when you think about it, because in New England the cities and towns are densely packed throughout the states, and there is a bevy of connecting highways, byways, private roads and turnpikes connecting them all. So there really are a hundred ways to get anywhere. I’m from the West Coast, where there’s generally only one way to get anywhere.
A West Coast Conversation About Directions:
Person A: Hey, what’s the best route to take to get to Seattle?
Person B: Um… You take I-5. What are you, a moron?
So tell me, what’s been happening here and in the world at large? What’d I miss?