Monday, January 5, 2009
The TBoGden Travel Diary – Part I
Saturday, December 27
10:00 AM - First order of business: Take our 18-year-old cat down the street for a lovely four-day, three-night stay at the neighborhood pet boarding facility. It's also home to his veterinarian, where we spent enough money in 2008 to qualify for a Christmas card from their office! Our cat's got a thyroid condition and arthritis. Pretty sure the next card we receive from them won't be so jovial.
10:45 AM - Mrs. Bootleg – the original Negro Elitist – opts for a driver and a Town Car to take us to the airport, instead of a shuttle or driving our damn selves. Our son Jalen is blown away to learn that the job of "airport driver" exists. He declares that this is the job he wants when he gets older. I wanted to be a public bus driver when I was four, because I thought they got to keep the fares. The moral: kids say such stupid things.
10:55 AM - The driver is having issues installing Jalen's car seat which earns him Mrs. Bootleg's silent contempt. He then compounds the problem by declaring the car seat is "in there good enough" when he finishes. My wife audibly exhales, all but shoves the driver aside and begins her 200-point/2 minute re-install and inspection. The boy is almost five years old and my wife has never let me put a car seat in.
11:00 AM - We're on the road and it appears we've landed us a "talky" driver. Here are a few things he covered on the 30 minute ride: gas prices, Christmas Day traffic, his noisy neighbors, why Mexicans can't drive(!) and tricked-out street racers. He also asked me, in all sincerity, if the Chargers were playing this (last) weekend. Mrs. Bootleg quietly reminds me that she included his tip when she pre-paid for the service. And, obviously, he knew this.
11:30 AM - We check three bags plus Jalen's car seat. Each checked bag is free, while the car seat is an additional…$50. Then, I tip the curbside attendant another $20 to ensure that our luggage actually gets to Utah. Unpatriotic Americans such as me have brought the U.S. automobile industry to its knees. How soon can we band together and eviscerate the airline industry?
11:45 AM - Oh, this is nice. I get lectured by three different security agents within the span of 30 seconds because I forgot to remove my laptop from of my carry-on bag prior to running it through the x-ray machine. Each one talks to me with one and two-syllable words in the same slow, deliberate method you would use to ask directions in a foreign country. "Where…is…the…mu-se-um?" "Next…time…take…it…out…of…the…bag!"
12:30 PM - It's the obligatory last bathroom break for the boy before we board. Sometime in his 4-plus years, my son's poops have morphed from "precious" to "noxious". This kid's sh*tting at a sixth grade level. I still have to accompany him to make sure no one tries to kidnap him, but I'm counting the days before he can defend himself from creepy predators.
1:00 PM - We take off from San Diego. I quietly pull out my PSP in anticipation of Jalen's two-hour nap. Current game: MLB – The Show. My create-a-player is due to test free agency for the first time at the end of the season and I'm killing the ball for the division-leading A's after being inexplicably sent down to Triple-A Sacramento after Spring Training. What?
1:10 PM - The boy's drifting…drifting…drif… He wants to watch a DVD? Damn it. I can't play while he's awake and distracting me in my virtual "contract year".
1:20 PM - In-cabin service includes complementary cinnamon cookies which would've scored a "500" on my "TBG Eats" scale. Sweet (but, not TOO sweet) and crisp, my licked and discarded wrapper claimed that the cookies are available for purchase online. Looks like Mrs. Bootleg will be trading up from her usual Valentine's Day box of See's!
1:30 PM - Jalen declares that he wants to go to sleep. Mrs. Bootleg thinks I'm crazy when I tell her that most airlines don't dole out pillows anymore. ("That's crazy. How can they NOT have pillows?") She is then told by the flight attendant that they don't dole out pillows anymore. She then looks at me knowing I will be reminding her of this exchange on every flight we take together for the rest of our lives.
1:45 PM - The boy remains in the realm of R.E.M. limbo. I'm reading him a story and Jalen sees a character with freckles. Incoherently, he wonders aloud why he doesn't have freckles which is followed by my clumsy ill-informed explanation. Without missing a beat, Jalen responds that he wished he were yellow so he could have freckles. White folk…I can't properly explain how funny this was. Black folk, Nick, Joe(NSFW!)…you know.
2:15 PM - I'm beginning to think he's not going to sleep.
2:30 PM - What the…? We've begun our initial descent into Salt Lake City? Now, Mrs. Bootleg and I have to keep Jalen awake so that a two-hour nap in the late afternoon doesn't screw up his sleeping pattern for the next four days. Parenting is a lot like pitching – assert yourself, change speeds and finish what you start. Hopefully, my wife has a reliever in mind when I eventually take myself out of the game in the late innings.
4:00 PM (Utah time) - Current temperature in Salt Lake City = 22 degrees. I'd briefly entertained the notion of wearing my throwback Rickey jersey with matching goofy A's elephant knit hat. Then, I see a true New England douche in the exact same ensemble repping the Red Sox. He's even got his own name on the back over the number 8. This confirms two points: (1) Black people just wear these things better and (2) I concede that I'm fast approaching the age when I can't even get away with wearing jerseys at games, anymore.
4:20 PM - Good thing I opted for "California cold weather casual", instead. We've got our bags and walk outside to meet my in-laws. Instantly, the rest of my body realizes it's 22 degrees. 22 degrees! My threadbare six-year-old jeans and long-sleeve SDSU shirt are doing NOTHING against these elements! Jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt aren't enough?! That's all the cold-weather clothes I packed! That's all the cold-weather clothes I own!
Next: Dinner with the in-laws and the "Dread in the Bed" grudge match with my son!