Monday, October 30, 2006

Where the rubber meets the road

so goes the Goodyear tire company's commercial. Well in my case that's true since I have a set of their tires attached to my blue Jeep Liberty in which I am often doing in excess of the speed limit. My grand children (the boys says of me) "My grandmother is cool. She does not drive like a little old lady." I must say here and now that IT IS ONLY by the grace of God I have never been stopped, warned or ticketed for speeding and not because I have some sixth sense or early warning radar devise onboard.

Here is the answer to an upcoming question I was asked yesterday:
I traveled by air quite often for many years in my first life’s career as a Registered Nurse when I worked for 25 plus years for a non-hospital employers like the University of Louisville and a major cigarette manufacturing company that I don’t want to give free advertisement to in this or any other format. I know there are many who have heard me say I don’t like to fly because I have said it a lot of times over the last 15 years since I stopped working as a RN. I have been told by both friends and family that I have to get over this reluctance to fly. But why should I want to get over it when I don't want to.

My reasoning for not wanting to fly was never about a fear of flying because I like the most dangerous parts of flight. The take offs and the landings. My reluctance to fly is all about the time I am in the air, sitting next to strangers, confined and bored. That's part of what bothers me the most is that I have given over to strangers control of part of my life. Not that I am a total control freak. Presently, to some degree it is now about the 2 hours you have to be at the airport before your flight time and the waiting and searching and the anxiety you get waiting for luggage you pray didn’t sent to a destination that was not yours. Or the ineptness of companies that say your luggage is lost forever and you ago out and buy a new wardrobe, or wonder of all wonder it is found just in time for you to get on a plane for home after having spent several days in the same clothes and wearing damp underwear that you hand washed and dried over the shower curtain rod each night.

Its about those little thin plastic glasses of something to drink that are never enough to quince the thirst induced by the dry germ filled recycled cabin air, salty nuts, crackers and chips they give you to nibble on. Of course I can see their point. They do not want to hydrate the passengers on board to the point that they all want to go to the sardine can size privy on board and certainly not all at the same time, creating a waiting line that extends the length of the plane.

An aside thought: I’ve often wonder while in one of those tight place doing what the little place was designed for, how anyone could be so sex starved that they would attempt to get a sex fix in a privy aboard an airplane. Jesus, it’s got to be a myth and if it's not please spare me learning how you know it isn't.

I got home yesterday after spending the better part of 5 days away from home; 2 days teaching, 4 nights in hotels and 1,866 miles on the road to find Lyn my oldest daughter had prepared a very good birthday dinner for me and my oldest grand child Joshua who shares my birth date. He turned 20, was born on my 43rd birthday. You do the math if you really want to know how old I am now. (I don't mind aging, the alternative is not what I wished for when I blew out the candle on my slice of cake yesterday)

Now for the question:

With her business mind and number crunching tendencies Lyn did the math of my trip and asked why I don’t fly to my teaching engagements. This was asked after she heard my report on how well the class went and on how much I enjoyed teaching to that group of ladies and one young man who keep addressing me as Mrs. Yeager.

Had I flown, I would have been away from home 3 days instead of 5. Part of me thought how nice, she missed me. But at my age do I really want to rush through the rest of my life. NO. Did I want to miss seeing all the wonderful fall folage in colors that I saw on the way from Missouri to North Caroline that left me amazed at the art of God's hand and pondering if I could achieve the same colors in my next quilt. If I had flown I would have missed all of it.

Making art is all about seeing. I saw. I was inspired.

Did I want to miss the opportunity to sit down to dinner with my friends Marti and George, once again and eat some fish that George had caught in Canada, and cooked for us on his grill that evening when I drove through Louisville on the way to North Carolina. Did I want to miss seeing the line drawing for her newest creation and her last finshed piece. NO. I would have missed all of this had I flown over the city.

Did I want to miss having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with the Katie(y)s on my way back through on Sunday. NO. Did I want to miss celebrating part of my birthday day with them too, where I received from Kathy another elephant for my (who me collect elephants-No-No-No dispite the fact I have hundreds)collection. NO. The elephant she presented me with is soooooooo cute, I could not not help embrace it and want to add it to the herd that already resides in our home.

Driving myself gave me the uninterrupted time to listen to several books on cd that made the miles and time fly by. Unlike driving with someone who you feel you have to keep up meaningless chatter with or who is likely to nod off on you leaving you to your own thoughts which can be dangerous in some cases. I was entertained the entire time. A pleasant voice reading to me interesting books was simply ahhhh.

I take several books with me, generally two more than I think I have time to listen too just in case. I learned on this trip that I like the sound of the male voice best, even when they are imitating the voice of a female. I hated listening to the female person who read the Dianne Mott Davidson book I had taken with me even though I love the author's who-done-it series when I read them myself. So I didn’t get past the first chapter of that book before ejecting it from the cd player. Irritation I didn't need or want. Reading and listening should be all about the pleasure of it. I also like books written in first person when read, while I on the other hand prefer the book I read to myself to be in third person. I know you can listen to book while flying but as I have aged my hearing has aged too and for me to hear a book, the person sitting next to me is going to hear it too. Maybe not loud enough to understand every word, but loud enough to be annoying. NOT GOOD.

Then there is the music of ones choice. Country to Opera in my case. Loud, sing-able, even dance-able as long as movements doesn’t effect the gas peddle and the steering wheel is great. I sing with abandon in the theory of "Does a falling tree in the woods make a sound if there is no one around to hear it." Well I sing out really loud with abandon like there is no on listening, because there isn't. I took plenty of those cd’s with me too. All in all I love traveling by car. Have always done so since Phil (my dearly departed)and I made our first long distance trip together way back in the early 60's. I have developed a great set of driving muscles and reflexes which I had no reason to acquire until after his death. I do not fear night driving. Phil and I did a lot of that during our years together. A sleeping child or multiples of them is the easiest way to travel with them. But most of all I do not fear being alone with myself in an auto for hours on end or anywhere else.

Of course a good map and the ability to read it along with , no reluctance to get off the road to ask directions if my smarter self says warningly" I think you are going the wrong way is a good thing to have.

A selection of munchies, my favorite drinks (including a few bottles of water at hand; plus being mindful of the signs along the road indicating how far away the next hopefully clean potty is makes taking a driving trip for me great fun. Might I suggest to those who are up for this type of adventure, a potty break tote is a must have take along. In the tote should be a roll of paper towel,(I hate those hot air hand dyers) a bar or little bottle of liquid soap, (there is no guarantee that there is soap in the dispensers) a box of Huggies babies wipes,( public bathrooms all have the most awful paper to wipe ones bottom with) a tooth brush and tooth paste or mouthwash might come in handy and a little money and an extra set of car keys too, just in case you get the sense that it might be safer to leave your purse locked securely in the car when you set out of it in only well lighted and people aplently place. DO THINK OF YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY FIRST .

Tomorrow I will show pictures of the ladies and one gentleman in my classes taught in Durham, NC. Go to for some different shots taken by the University during my Bowling Green class


Sabasi said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! Happy Birthday to You, happy birthday dear Juanita - happy birthday to you! I hope you had a great one!

BTW, I am totally with you on this. Although, we probably fly on about half of our trips, I really enjoy the process of getting there much more when we drive. In fact, the only mode of travel that I possibly enjoy more is train travel (which can also have some of the limitations of flying).

Karoda said...

Happy Birthday Juanita! I hope you had a great day celebrating the day you were born and changed the course of the Universe!

deb said...

Ah Durham...Speed Trap Queen of the South. It was a pleasure to read about another road warrior. My librarian used to think I was cracked when I take 8 or 10 books on CD out at the same time. Now she knows just how far her items travel.
I'd offer to ride along but it's a pleasurable solitude if you plan the trip right.