Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'll be home for (the weekend before) Christmas

When my Wyo-friends ask me if I'm going home for Christmas, the answer is always a resounding "Hecks no!" Then they get that same look of misplaced pity and ask "oh noes! y not?" The answer is simply because I don't like to travel in the Winter. The Roads are laden with water in varying stages of freezing. I don't like the directions taken and methods used by the TSA (Tax Subsidized Ass-grabbers).

The airports are crowded with people also trying to go home for Christmas, and there is a greater number of couples bringing their small children onto the plane to visit their Grandparents.

Quick thought here: Why is it always the parents doing the traveling with the children? If the G'rents want to see their grandchildren, why can't they get on a plane? Their kids are probably dealing with enough stress and financial burden from their little snowflakes without the added cost of Air Travel? Or the mental stress of minding your child at an enormous building filled with thousands of strangers? Or keeping them under control while juggling your luggage, the kids luggage, diaper bags, strollers, car seats, and other brik-a-brak that have mostly just driven up the cost of becoming a parent? It's a shame that kids can't sit still in an airplane seat for four hours; they may be the only ones that can fit in them comfortably.

We live in a day and age where people hundreds of miles away, even on opposite sides of oceans, can hold a conversation as if the participants were staring at each other. A few webcams, and they CAN be staring at one another.

But this year, my sister, and one of my uncles that I haven't seen in a while returned to The 'Burgh for a visit to my Grandparents before Christmas. The weather had been unusually cooperative this year, so I booked a flight to surprise my family on the same weekend. The weekend was great. Nice Dinner got to see family that I don't see often, especially my cousins.

Then I came back, and found that a Class Five Winter Killstorm had dumped about two feet of snow on Utah, Wyoming, and other less important western states. My connecting flight was delayed over an hour and a half, I had to take shelter at the Best Western in Heber, UT. I got stuck in parking lots due to the lack of snow removal. My little front wheel drive vehicle barely made it up the pair of hills, referred to as "The Sisters" by the locals, that lie between Evanston and Mountain View. Longing to get back to the Valley, where they at least keep the roads drivable, I pulled into town only to find that everyone that drives a plow in the county decided to just give up and go inside for hot cider or something.

So, yeah, not doing that again. This has basically validated all of my reservations about Winter Travel. As my mother put it, "When winter begins, he doesn't come down from the mountain until the spring thaw." No more driving in the slush, no more winter flights where the TSA gets to 2nd base with me. Although, the SLC security folks are usually pretty polite and even temered, unlike those I've encountered everywhere. Usually TSA makes me feel cheap and used. The Salt Lake International Airport TSA almost makes me feel... sexy.

Uh, don't read too deeply into that last sentence.

What's with all the sentimentality about family and Christmas, anyway? Why can't we designate that kind of sugar-job for a summer holiday? How about we have ourselves a merry little Cinqo de Mayo? Or maybe make Independence Day the new wishy-washy feel-good holiday? BBQ, swimming pools, lawn darts (and I'm talking about the awesome stabby kind!) sunshine and favorable temperatures, and explosive ordinance of questionable legality. That's what I want at a family gathering!