News Section: Commentary
Letters From The Wasteland: Resolutions Anyone?
I spent the last week holed up in a dank motel room, while I finished ghostwriting the memoirs of a prominent politician whom all of you know. I can't drop any names, but the working title is Just Because I Didn't Say It, Doesn't Mean It Isn't Not Untrue.
Anyway, one of the chamber maids asked me if I'd thought of a New Year's resolution yet. I told her I didn't believe in them, but it got me thinking of a few good ones for other people based on some of the aggravating behavior I'd experienced that week.
So I decided to scribble a few down. Feel free to use any of them you like. No need to even credit me. I'll consider it my good deed for the year.
1. Don't Hog the Waffle Iron
Being a poorly-paid journalist and all, I look for motels that include the “free deluxe continental breakfast,” which usually means that in addition to coffee, juice, toast and pastries, there are a few extra goodies tossed in such as cereal, maybe some runny instant eggs, a rubbery sausage link and best of all, a perfectly-golden Belgian waffle that you make yourself at one of those industrial waffle irons, where you pour in a perfectly-sized plastic cup's worth of batter, rotate it 180 degrees and two minutes later you're in waffle heaven!
However, I've never seen a motel that has more than one iron installed in the breakfast nook. So it never seems to fail that each time I'm in such a motel, some family of eight is camped out in front of the thing with a dozen cups filled, tying the thing up for whatever is left of the ungodly early “limited breakfast hours,” the ones that I've already had to set my alarm on vacation in order to wake up in time for.
If you've got a family that big, do the decent thing and load up the van and head for the IHOP that is never more than a stone's throw away from a mid-level budget motel anywhere in America. If you can't afford the cheap eats at the pancake house, stick to the cereal bar at the hotel or at the very least, offer the line of annoyed solo eaters the waffle iron in between making each of your dozen or so of these delicacies.
2. Don't Ask Questions in Line at the Coffee House
You guys know how I feel about Starbucks, but hotel coffee always seems to get my guts gurgling, so when I'm on the road, the green mermaid always ends up at the party.
For all their faults, the folks at Starbucks have done a good job of describing the difference between a latte and a cappuccino on their menu board. Unless you've been living in a cave, you'd know that a frappuccino is just a frozen espresso and milk drink.
They've all got flavors to choose from. Look at the board, read the description and order a damn drink. If you like it, make a mental note and order the same thing next time. If you require additional tutorials, find a barista cleaning the tables before you get into line and have them sort you out – or better yet, just order a “coffee” like the rest of the world.
People who haven't had their caffeine fix are cranky and irritable. Making them wait so that you can find out whether or not something comes with whipped cream on top without asking can ultimately be bad for your health, and I'm not just talking about all of that sugar intake.
3. Stop Asking how my Fantasy Football Team is Doing!
I have nothing against sports and like watching the occasional ball game as much as the next guy – or maybe not. Increasingly, I cannot even go into a sports bar like the one that was next to my hotel and even glance up at an NFL game without some bozo asking me how my fantasy picks did?
What??? Yes, I get it. I understand the concept of fantasy football and just because I say I don't participate in it, that is not an invitation to explain to me the rather simple concept of creating some sort of game within a game by drafting fantasy teams and elaborately using the performance of individual players to make some sort of competition among fans.
It's just that the vast majority of my fantasies contain leggy blondes, not overgrown men in tight pants and sleeveless jerseys. It used to be that this made me the normal, red-blooded American male, rather than the outcast. No, one game going on is enough for me, sometimes more than enough. Leave it alone.
4. Stop Rubber Necking!
I spent the last four hours of the trip in gridlock even though the accident which was supposedly to blame had long been cleared. Why? Because every single driver except me paused to a slow crawl as they passed, because for some reason, even leggy blondes, football fantasies or perfectly-golden Belgian waffles aren't as irresistible as the sight of a dented bumper on a Honda mini-van and a folded trunk on a Chevy Cruze after a mild fender bender on I-75.
Do you realize that we'd be halfway to eradicating traffic jams if we all decided at once that we could pass by an accident without looking – or even just relied on a co-passenger to give us a brief description? It's the 21st century; if it were someone you knew well they would have texted you all about it. If it was an acquaintance, you would have seen their tweet or the pic they posted on Facebook.
Look straight ahead and for the love of God, DRIVE! Some of us have places to be and filing deadlines to meet.
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