NoSalesTax

Two Elon alumni (2002) have pooled their talents to bring excitement and joy to your day. One is a classy woman who combines her Italian and feminine powers to influence men of all shapes and sizes. The other is a tall blond man who relies on wit and boyish good looks to impress women, especially when they're drunk. Join them in their epic pursuit of the phenomenon known as adulthood. NoSalesTax side effects may include addiction and abrupt laughter as colleagues look on in confused jealousy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Traveling

Like many other Americans, I spent some time traveling last week. In my case, it was a short drive to Cranford, NJ, a suburb of Newark. Is it just me, or does the NJ Turnpike get more and more lovely each year? When the arctic ice caps have melted and humans are forced to dwell deep beneath the earth’s surface, long after the North Korean nuclear wars and the government’s near collapse under the reigns of Hillary Clinton, the NJ Turnpike will look exactly as it does today. Concrete has a half-life of 2,000 years, meaning the entire roadway should outlive Red Auerbach.

Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling. After all, you’re reading the words of someone who made a habit of driving all night to and from college to avoid east coast traffic. I drove cross-country with no one but sports radio to talk to. I find flying relaxing, or at least I did until my legs decided to keep growing. I’ve thought about prosthetics for long flights, just fold ‘em up and throw them in the overhead compartment. Here’re some more things I enjoy about traveling:

Driving – I would much rather drive than be a passenger. Maybe I’m a
control freak, but I’m confident I can drive faster than anyone else while maintaining safety. My Ameri-siblings will tell you I’m a bit horn-happy, but why else was it invented? If someone’s being an idiot behind the wheel, I will gladly perk his ears w/ a toot of the horn. It was even better when I was driving a 15-passenger government vehicle on a regular basis. Seriously, all I want for Christmas are government license plates. Next to Kevlar, nothing makes you feel more invincible. Of course, I doubt I’d enjoy driving so much if I couldn’t listen to
CDs while in the car. That’s right, I’ve yet to join the iPod clan. I’m still working on getting my own ‘puter so I can post on the blog more frequently (instead of attempting to be witty and covert at the same time in my not-so-private office).

Local Commercials – No matter how bad you think your neighborhood pizza joint’s marketing campaign is, I guarantee you there’s another local cable commercial somewhere else in the country that’s even worse. Living in Boston, I’ve been robbed of the sheer ridiculousness of smaller community commercials, but I still try to find humor in them. For instance, there’s a commercial for “PC Healthstop” airing in Boston that features two “employees.” One guy’s white, the other’s Hispanic. That’s right, Boston is a diverse city! The men alternate lines
throughout the first half, before the Hispanic guy delivers a 10-sec. spiel in a language that appears to be a mix between English, Spanish and auctioneer. Think Speedy Gonzalez crossed w/ the Micro Machines guy (also a teacher on Saved by the Bell, the episode when students are taking notes so fervently, smoke rises from the pencil).

Toothpaste – I’m always enamored by how many different kinds of toothpaste exist. Gone are the days of Crest vs. Colgate. Now there’re 20 different kinds of Colgate, 20 different kinds of Crest, Aim, Sensodyne, Mentodent and a supposedly natural toothpaste made by some Maineiac named Tom. And don’t even get me started on visiting relatives in France. I think their toothpaste, soap and shampoo all come in one tube.

Free Food – This tends to apply only when visiting relatives or family friends. Rarely does it occur when I visit my friends, many of whom aren’t much further than I in the race to adulthood. I visited my buddy Charlie over July 4 weekend. In his fridge were beers, peanut butter and a box of leftover pizza. If that’s not a meal, I don’t know what is.

Hotels – Why is it the first thing people do when they arrive in their room is drop everything and crash on a bed? Is it to make sure no one’s hiding under the covers? Or do they just wanna rub against all the unspoken germs that live in the blankets, which get washed every time Haley’s Comet graces us w/ its presence? I also love leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor. It’s a freedom I never enjoyed growing up in a household w/ my mom, a neat freak who makes Seinfeld’s O.C.D. seem tame. Maybe that’s where I get it from. I also enjoy the tiny soap in the shower. I like to pretend it’s a normal soap and my muscles are huge. Yes, I stole that from Seinfeld.

New and Strange Women – I’ve yet to fully tap this phenomenon, though my roommate Big House has many a story to tell. He apparently hooks up every time he’s out in a diff. city. Why he can’t parlay that success into Boston booty is beyond me. I can’t believe I just wrote “booty.”

Airports – These are much better people-watching venues than the actual airplane, when everyone’s facing forward. I like to arrive early at the airport, get through security and just sit back and watch thousands of strangers carry on w/ their lives. I create stories for them, imagine what their lives are like. Maybe this guy’s a plumber who’s always dreamed of opening a sushi restaurant, but his wife thinks his idea’s crazy. Plus, she’s allergic to seafood and hasn’t worked since the operation on her feet to remove bunions. I’ll see a seemingly happy
family of four: a mom and dad followed by a teenage girl and a 8-year-old boy. What no one else sees is a woman who’s in love w/ her daughter’s best friend’s single dad. Her husband hasn’t noticed the affair, however, because he’s too caught up in work, embezzling money from the company to give his family a better lifestyle. Would his wife be cheating on him if he’d spend more time at home, or is she cheating on him because the other man is just that—another man? Meanwhile, the son keeps getting beaten up at school, so much so that he has to visit w/ the guidance counselor twice a week, but the guidance counselor is really a sicko who likes molesting little boys, a habit he picked up when he was bouncing around foster homes growing up. The daughter is a decent-looking girl who aspires to be popular, so she’s slept w/ the
entire basketball team and does lines in the bathroom w/ the more popular girls. With all their baggage, it’s amazing that this seemingly perfect family can carry their suitcases through the airport terminal. I also like the moving walkways in airports, and I love elbowing people in the way as I pass them.

Adventures – It seems like something crazy happens anytime I take a
vacation. I spent a week w/ Charlie six months ago. We drove all over California and Arizona, reliving our AmeriCorps year and trying to remember why we ever moved back east. Needless to say, we flew back to New England with several classic stories after driving 2,200 miles in a week. For instance, I tried peeing in his friend’s dresser at 3am after she was kind enough to let us crash at her San Francisco apt. for the night. Luckily, I heeded her pleas and instead sprinted back into the
living room, looked around frantically (according to Charlie, I looked like Speedy Gonzalez) before running to the bathroom. At this point, her boyfriend was awake and laughing hysterically, though Charlie was not pleased. He yelled at me as I grabbed a towel from the linen closet and draped it around my waste. My only words to him were, “I’m going long-school, Charlie. If you wanna go short-school, that’s fine, but
I’m goin’ long-school.” A normal human being might’ve been embarrassed the next morning. Lucky for me, I’m clearly not normal.