So I’m On Vacation…

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….which means I haven’t had much to say lately. Not because I’ve been on vacation, I just got here yesterday. No, I have had little to say on the ol’ bloggie lately simply because I was getting ready for the trip. Traveling is difficult even on your own.

So I’m on vacation. Those of you that have been around for a while know that I’m from Chicago. I live in California now, though (unfortunately), so typically vacations involve the Windy City. Last year we came out for a couple weeks, this year we’re spending a whole month here.

Let’s hope next time it’s permanent.

So far I have learned a few things.

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#1 A Lot of People Are Obnoxious

It doesn’t say “surviving on cynicism and misanthropy” in the banner of this website for nothing: I think a lot of people are obnoxious. I’m probably more obnoxious than any of them, but that’s another blog post altogether.

We took the train again with my dad across the country, and while I had learned some lessons the last time (in terms of making it a little more comfortable for us), what I hadn’t learned was how to avoid the obnoxious people. Even the car attendant was getting on my nerves at a certain point, and it was her job to be my BFF.

The worst was on the one night that we went up to the dining car to actually dine. Typically we just stay in the room and have it delivered, or eat our own food. Stupidly I suggested we go on the first night, though, and we were seated next to the most obnoxious woman EVER.

“Is there a tilapia on this menu? There’s supposed to be a fish. This isn’t right.”

“Are these mashed potatoes made with Idaho potatoes? Instant? This isn’t right.”

“It’s so cold in here, can you turn down the air? This isn’t right that it’s so cold in here.”

“You charge for wine? Oh that isn’t right. Are you sure there is not tilapia available?”

“Arnold, what was the problem in the baaaaaaathrooooooom? You couldn’t get it out? Oh that isn’t right.”

#2 Hotels Are A Reminder That Not Everyone Practices Effective Family Planning

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Last night my cousin and I were talking about the natural, Catholic family planning course she and her fiance had to take (their wedding is one of the reasons we are in town). As if her description of the Catholic-approved “birth control” (if you can call it that) methods weren’t horrifying enough, I realized this morning that probably a lot more people practice it than you’d think.

How did I realize? If you know anything about the natural, Catholic-approved family planning “birth control,” you know that it doesn’t work. Everyone that uses it has a shit-ton of kids.

Each family I saw staying in our hotel has six or more children. One family had nine, and the mother was pregnant with the tenth. And while the children running around screaming is not noticeable while we are in our nice, relatively soundproof suite, the continental breakfast is a much different story.

It was like the state of nature with free Cheerios and waffles. Children were running around between tables, smacking the chairs and yelling “blah blah blah blah blah.”

Snot flowed everywhere.

Every thirty seconds a child would fall or trip or run into something or bite their tongue or smash their head into their cereal bowl and loud crying would commence.

All-the-while mine just sat there in horror. After about ten minutes I got a “can we go back to our room now?”

So that’s where we are. A lot of observations, and at the same time a lot of really loving being home. It should come as no surprise to all of you that I really dislike California. Sorry, it’s just the truth. I’m allergic to everything there. I think a lot of the people I have encountered are narcissistic, self-centered, overly-career focused a-holes.

And honestly, I just prefer the Midwest.

If it makes me a bad person to have a personal preference other than palm trees and beaches, well than so be it. All I know is that as our train rolled its way towards the Chicagoland area, the water towers and the rolling lands and the humidity that everyone complains about were so wonderfully “home” to me that I could taste it. It tasted like pizza and hot dogs and the White Sox and my childhood; my family, my friends, and everything I’ve always loved.

Vacation Report One: Misanthrope Does Not Stop at Los Angeles

I really and truly thought I was just a misanthropic, foul-mouthed bitch because of my surroundings. As much as I knew (and people told me) that the underside of humanity exists everywhere – not just L.A. – I hoped that as soon as I broke free from the western waters I would find myself less annoyed by people around me.

I was terribly terribly wrong. So wrong that I now realize this vacation is going to teach me a lot – mainly about myself and what has happened to my conceptions of the world since living in California.

Thus far, I have experienced the following “characters” during our 44 hour scenic train travel (that’s right, I’ve been on a train for 44 hours … no shower, plenty of sleep in our sleeping car, lot of sights):

(1) Most annoying lady on the planet

That’s right, I have found the most annoying woman on the planet. Maybe she’s just representative of annoying, middle-aged women everywhere; nonetheless, she was on the trip. Her annoyances included: talking so loudly during dinner the first night that we decided to take our meals in our sleeper cars lest we be forced to sit near her again; bitching in the middle of the night about the fact that the train was running about an hour late; and the icing on the cake, banging on the bathroom door while my 8 year old Pookie was (as she calls) “taking a whiz.”

(2) Kid who was lucky he got off when he did, because I was about to punch him

You know, in movies you see people traveling and there is always some annoying kid running around screaming like a maniac and hitting people. You think “haha, funny stuff – glad that doesn’t happen when I travel.” Well, somewhere around Albuquerque, that little asshole got on the train and was placed in the sleeping car next to us. The highlight was when the kid loudly sang a song in the Pee Wee Herman voice about his recent bowel movement.

(3) The Amish belcher

In the sleeper cab behind us, a man and his wife got on the train around Fullerton (California) and have been there the entire time. One thing to note is that they are Amish. Not like the colloquial application of the term and just out of date with their clothes and 1990s cell phones; these people are for real Amish. The husband apparently had some sort of intestinal issues, though, for I have never heard someone blow things out of the various orifices of their body as this guy did.

So we have about four more hours on this train, and while the experience of traveling across the country in it was amazing, I will probably never do it again. It’s just so long, and this bitch needs her shower time. Nonetheless, I have spaced out for the last two days and feel totally relaxed. Next stop, home sweet homecoming.