Monday, July 13, 2009

From Wikipedia's Pacer Page - "A Jellybean In Suspenders"

Growing up, we were all about the road trip.  Not that we were averse to flying, but if there wasn't an ocean in the way, chances were we drove.

And the 70's were a great time to be road-trippers.  Cheap motels with pools, greasy mom and pop diners and the total absence of seat-belt laws made for an atmosphere that embraced the Britney Spears in all of us.  Or maybe we just spent too much of our time travelling south.

My dad had actually considered buying the AMC Pacer as our family car, purely for the "fishbowl/greenhouse".  He wanted us kids to spend every minute looking out and taking in the world.

Thankfully we dodged that bullet and got a full-sized Chevy van instead.  Fully carpeted interior, floors AND walls. (Don't come a-knockin')  The ceiling had cork tile with a roof vent.  The middle was empty, but the back had two facing benches with a table in-between.  (Therefore, passengers in the back rode sideways and would knock their heads against the wood banisters marking the ends of the benches, if the driver stomped on the brakes too hard.)  On long road trips, we would actually throw one of those cheap foam sofa bed into the middle section, open it up and just roll around for 1400 miles.  

The amount of distance between the driver and the back allowed for more "experimentation" as well.  I remember making a kite out of McDonald's straws and napkins and trying to fly it out the back window doing 70 mph on I-75.

We sold the van before I got to driving age, as the family trips dwindled and it became less practical.  But now, almost a quarter of a century later, things have come full circle and we find ourselves with a van (though mini) again.  And I'm absolutely amazed by it.  There's absolutely no selectiveness required in packing for trips.  If the thought crosses our mind that it might come in handy, it gets thrown in.  Three strollers for two children?  Why not?  

And now that we're potty training, we've designated one back corner as the literal port-a-potty.  And when he gives us the two minute warning of "I gotta pee" it's just a matter of pulling over, unbuckling him and getting him into the back.

My biggest love?  He sits so high with those huge side windows and spends every minute looking out and taking in the world.

And yelling "Mighty Machines!" whenever he sees a truck.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Retro-Bloggage : Oh, Why Bother...

Originally posted on July 29, 2007
I've never been one for small talk.  I think it's the insincerity of it all.  Meaningful conversation or nothing at all.  Very rarely do I actually care how you're doing when I ask "How are you?"  so why bother?
In addition, I've mentioned that I have nine friends.  Nine friends is enough.  There's guys in there I haven't spoken to in 8 months.  I can barely keep up with the friends I have, so I'm not at all in the market for any more.
This all adds up to a frightening degree of anti-socialness.  I like to think I put off an aura like a hissing cat.  Strangers don't approach me.  (Carol on the other hand, seems to invite and welcome all kinds of *witticisms" from people who pass within five feet.)
So I'm standing in the return line at Marshall's, in my cocoon of don't-talk-to-me, when I hear, "Excuse me.  Excuse me."  And since it's so odd for strangers to approach me, my mind doesn't even register the possibility that someone's talking to me.  Then I feel a punch on my leg.  I look down and there's a sweet little girl, about 1 or 2, looking up at me.  Now she's not the one who's talking, so I look up at the mother, and she asks me, "Don't it look like she got a touch of the pinkeye?"
I'm not sure if it was the flipflops, four days scruff, or the fact that I'd been waiting 20 minutes to return a $9.99 shirt which made her think I was a pediatrician, but what could my response be?  I decided to give it my best shot.  I knelt down and said, "Hey sweetie, have you been rubbing your eyes too much?"
She gives me a big smile, licks her hand and punches me again.  (After some observation, it became apparent that the hand licking was a *thing* she did.  Which might not explain the pinkeye, but would be my first suspicion if she had any other ailments.)
So I tell the mother, "There isn't any discharge, and even the tearing doesn't seem abnormal.  I wouldn't worry too much." 
To which she replies, "Yup, looks like the pinkeye."
I went back to my cocoon.