This story of the road trip to Key West seems to be unfolding in a nonlinear fashion. I learned a lot about myself this time around. Travel is always educational. Unfortunately it’s not always things you want to learn. But, I sort of wonder if perhaps some things are better not learned in the first place. Although I still have bronchitis so I may still be in an extremely whiny and frustrated mood.
The main thing I learned this time is that at the tender age of 57 I still stand back and let myself get talked into things that I know are going to be a BAAAAAD idea. And then volunteer to do part of the driving to get to the bad idea.
I’ve driven to Key West from New Orleans 2 times before and both times swore on my future grave that I was NEVER going to do it again. It’s a long boring stressful trip through a whole lot of nothing. Key West is fabulous, but driving there sucks on multiple levels.
So what do I do? I agree to another road trip to Key West from 500 miles further away and somehow tell myself that I have not in fact lost my freaking mind. I should have put my foot down and said “there is no way in hell that I am doing this, and may God have mercy on your soul. Don’t bother sending postcards because I’ve already been there, done that.” Or maybe something along the lines of “hey, I’m going to fly, meet ya there, have fun. Call me from the road if you live.”
I love my Mother-in-law but she is what she is. She still bosses her son around and hasn’t figured out that I don’t take well to getting bossed around. I put an end to my mother bossing me around by leaving home when I was 15 years old. I’m left feeling like I spent 2 weeks with a pillow slammed down over my face. Maybe that’s why my body decided to manifest bronchitis so I could have an excuse to say NO, I don’t want to cram another plate of food down my face or look at one more tree, statue or anything else without resorting to violence. I need a break!!
Part of the problem is that the Hubman has developed this sort of Siamese triplet mentality. A weird triangle relationship has manifested where he seems to think that he, his mother and I are an inseparable unit. It’s not doing our relationship much good. This was becoming an issue before we left on the trip. If I didn’t go along with the program with his mother, then he won’t go either. It’s as if WE not HE is responsible for entertaining his mother at all times. I have my own mother to contend with, thank you very much. And that is not always an easy task.
As a result, this behavior continued and worsened on the trip and if I didn’t go along with the program then he would stay in the room and crank up the AC to zizz and in general take over everything and every square inch of the room. He wouldn’t do anything with his mother unless I came along, so the only solitude I managed to find was in a random hotel bathrooms or walking around the corner to alleys. The exception being the night I collapsed in the hotel.
My first mistake was forgetting the first rule of travel is that it’s supposed to be enjoyable for ALL members of the party. As defined by ALL members of the group. This doesn’t mean that everyone likes every single activity. Of course compromises should be made. But reluctantly embarking on a 3,000 mile road trip because one of the persons involved doesn’t want to be “inconvenienced” by an uncomfortable airplane seat is a recipe for resentments and disaster. Said person did absolutely none of the driving of course.
Another mistake was my standing by while the Hubman planned out the route and how long it “should” take us to get from point A to point B. Never in his life has he been on a road trip as an adult. He was a passenger in the back seat as a small child and went on road trips with his family. But that doesn’t even come close to counting as experience as an adult traveler. I kept trying to tell him that you need to factor in time to stop, walk around, eat, use the restroom, and just in general not be in the car for a while. Did he listen? – NO. Did I put my foot down and insist? – NO.
Crazy things happen when traveling. Not everyone wakes up hung over in a hotel room in Bangkok with a tattoo on their face, but things do happen. Time to recuperate, process, be alone, and rev up for more adventures needs to be in there somewhere, or a trip can quickly transform into a death march.
So it seems we have some issues to resolve. Ya think?
That’s right, I think that hotel owners and managers should be required to live in one of their hotel rooms, anonymously, 2 weeks a year WITH ANOTHER PERSON. Yep, if I made laws this would be one, except that I object to passing laws in general almost to the point that I could fit into the category of an anarchist.
The 10 laws that God came up with pretty much cover everything, in my opinion. I’m not even going to get into tax laws because I will start foaming at the mouth and it’s not a pretty sight.
So, back to hotel rooms. Seriously, who thinks up the arrangement in these damned rooms anyway? Did somebody take notes from old I Love Lucy episodes or what? You never even saw their bathroom so I guess it didn’t exist. 2 cutesy little beds and no one ever decided to sleep at different times than their partner. Lying back on a pillow that at first seems soft and then collapses to envelop your head in a cocoon of polyester is always a delight. The pillow also doubles as a sleep mask, and if your partner decides to end you after being stuck in the same bizarre room for days, they don’t have to work up a sweat to smother you in your sleep.
And then there is the bathroom. True, I am a minimalist at heart, but come on! Hotels now provide you with 85 towels and no place to hang even 1. But there is the chirpy little sign that asks you to save the planet and only throw your towel in the floor if you want a new one. Well hell yeah I want a new one. If you gave me some place to hang a towel, I wouldn’t need a new one now would I? I am not gonna pick up a towel off any floor anywhere at any time and reuse it.
Ah, counter space in the bathroom. I turn into a raging territorial baboon when it comes to my little corner of the bathroom counter. I travel lite and keep it small, but it doesn’t seem to help. My attitude is; don’t touch my stuff, don’t put your stuff on or in my stuff, don’t even think about laying a wet towel on my stuff, don’t put the book that you were reading on the toilet on my stuff, and don’t dig through my stuff looking for something because you forgot to bring stuff you needed! Mr. Hubman has not figured out how much this pisses me off after 10 years together. I love him but he’s a slow learner. Perhaps if I beat him senseless with my dop kit I can get through to him.
On to electrical outlets. These are usually conveniently located on the ceiling, behind the 300 pound chest of drawers with a TV bolted to the top, or directly next to the coffee maker that only works every other Tuesday from 2 to 3 am. Outlets seem to hate being located anywhere near where someone might actually want to use one. Like near the desk or bed to plug in your phone that you use as an alarm clock, calendar, reminder list and, in moments of extreme boredom, playing games. Is that too much to ask? If there are 2 people in the room and both have a phone and laptop, plan on charging something in the bathroom. But don’t use them in the tub. That’s the only advice I can give you on the subject.
Wireless internet is progress that many hotels are implementing, but don’t always hit the mark. If you plan on using wireless in your room while traveling, practice at home first. Try browsing the internet while perched on one foot on a pillow or exercise ball. After you master that, try doing it with the laptop as close to the ceiling as possible to get a signal. You get extra points if you can type without seeing the keyboard.
Mr. Husband is a big man, but not that big. At our hotel in Chicago he sat on the corner of the bed to put on his boots and the bed collapsed. I thought it was uproariously funny. It would have been a lot funnier if it collapsed while we were in it. He was not amused. I stopped feeling amused when I ended up being the one to go to the front desk and tell them that we broke the bed. The man I talked to was polite and non-judgmental, apologizing profusely. The woman standing off to the side rolled her eyes. I wanted to tell her that as tourists who had walked a thousand miles we were too tired to break the bed in the usual manner, but I decided to just let her think whatever she wanted to think.
So there you have it. Hotel Managers take heed. Are your ratings down? Stay a week or 2 in your hotel and you will feel your customer’s pain and know exactly what to do to get those ratings up.