Framing the Dialogue


That’s the number of miles I traveled with my wife and daughter last weekend to “tour” two colleges in upstate New York.  We had originally planned the trip for October, but things came up and we had to postpone.  October would have been nice with sunny weather and beautiful fall foliage.  The first hour of our trip alternated between light snow, heavy snow, what they call a “wintry mix” (too pretty a name for freezing rain), and snow-covered roads.  It had been warm enough that I didn’t think the roads would be icy, but there is always that black ice to worry about. 

We generally use my wife’s car for trips since it is our newest vehicle.  I usually drive because I am a control freak and really don’t like others driving.  My wife claims shotgun to the chagrine of my daughter and me.  On long trips I would prefer my daughter up front with me because she doesn’t sleep in the car and would be more company than my sleeping wife.  With the first leg of our journey being five plus hours a little conversation would have been nice.  It is really hard to carry on a conversation with someone in the back seat.

Once we got past Erie, Pennsylvania the weather got sunny and clear and that followed us the whole weekend.  Both of the colleges were very nice and one in particular made a great impression on my daughter.  It is a little far to travel to for my tastes (it was the further of the two) and would take over six hours to get to.  Unfortunately it is located in a quaint little town in the finger lakes region of New York State.  This is wine country and traveling one evening I lost count of wineries when I got to 20 (we only “sampled” at two).  Did I mention that there is this lake nearby?

We sort of made a mini vacation of the trip and stayed on the lake for two nights.  Even though it was off-season the room still was on the bad side of $150.00 per night.  At that price we HAD to make it a vacation.  One of the folks from the college was nice enough to recommend some restaurants and places to go while we were in the area.  We went to some funky Dinosaur BBQ place in Rochester NY and a quaint cafe near Geneva.  The cafe was unusual in that we arrived around 5:00 Saturday.  The place looked nice, but when we walked in there were maybe two tables seated.  We waited for a few minutes to “get seated” and the host asked if we had reservations.  Did I mention that the joint was empty and this was off season?  We did not have reservations to the dismay of the host who told us that we’d have to wait until 9:00.  I couldn’t help but look around at the VERY empty dining room and offer that “I guess everyone hasn’t showed up yet.” 

We ended up eating at a bar/lounge that actually had really good food.  I had a pot roast sandwich which was awesome.  The dinner included a show…not really, but the table behind us was seated with seven college “men.”  I suspected that the meal would be interesting when each of them ordered a pitcher of beer.  Things went wrong about a half hour in and before their food came.  I wasn’t paying much attention to them, but one threw a hissy fit about someting and stormed off.  I could never figure out what happened, but witnessed as some took turns trying to get him to return.  I assume he was pouting outside.  I took note that the cat fight started when thier pitchers were half full or is that half empty?  The show tool a turn toward an “R” rating as they all lapsed into F-bombs, but we were done and left them to their drama.

Night then dawn brought us to the long drive home.  We decided to take some back roads for the first leg which was a nice way to enjoy the sunny morning, but the long highway  beckoned.  Things were going pretty well until we got about an hour from home.  My irritation level reached the red zone when some wacko from West Virgina (according to his plates) passed me for the fifth time, pulled over close in front of me, and proceeded to slow down.  I know it wasn’t me since I had the cruise control on. 

Okay it probably was some “me” but I got to thinking about how much time I had spent cramped with my wife and daughter in either the car or hotel room.  To occupy my mind I started to cipher and calculated that I had spent over FORTY hours in close proximity to two other people over the three days.  Maybe it wasn’t the stooge from West Virginia.  Maybe I needed to get some space.  Maybe I needed to chill a little.  Maybe I need to have more patience toward my fellow man. 

Nah it was the dink from West Virginia!

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