Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rick and I have returned from a week's diversion in Arizona and New Mexico. Although it wasn't exactly the height of bug season, bug-related images will start creeping into Stridulations soon.

In the meantime, a few thoughts for road-tripping northeasterners:

* This is only the second time in my life that I've actually timed a vacation around spring break -- and not only do I not have kids, but on both occasions, I was past 40.

* After not having an airline misroute my luggage for around 20 years, it was an interesting experience to have my bag delayed in both directions. One more such incident, and I'll start trumpeting my theory of the origins of modern airlines via Stupid Design.

* If you land in Arizona or New Mexico during a freakishly rainy March cold snap, and you want something to do that will be more fun when it's not hot, go here. Be aware, though, that it will take several weeks to get the gypsum out of your luggage.

* Best guidebook line ever (from Greg Ward's The Rough Guide to Southwest USA): "When it began life in the 1860s, Phoenix must have seemed like a good idea."

* Go to Sedona. Just go. It's pretty, and you'll either love it or be amused by it. Even if you're not into crystals, aura therapy, or vortex hunting. If I were a member of an alien organization bent on harmonically converging on Earth, it's the top U.S. site that I'd pick. (Well, okay, unless I could book a summer campsite at Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin.)

* When you're traveling with one other person, be it spousal unit, relative, or friend: Sometimes there's something to be said for harmonic divergence. If you want to eat in different restaurants or participate in different activities, do it. You'll both be much happier than if either of you felt dragged along to some place you didn't want to go.

*And, finally: As a political progressive who's also very much a realist, I sometimes have trouble putting my opinions into words. For example, I've often had difficulty expressing why I'm so opposed to capital punishment. This picture, I think, says it perfectly.



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