Thursday, September 6, 2007

Coming or Going

I've been doing a lot of traveling lately, for both business and pleasure. Maybe too much. Earlier this morning, I pulled an itinerary out of my briefcase marked, "9/20 ORD" and asked myself, "Why am I going to Chicago on the 20th?" The scary part is that it took me maybe 20 long seconds to recall the purpose of this trip. Could be a sign of excessive travel! Or early Alzheimer's.

Here are a couple things I've been thinking about while traveling:

I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet
At ATL, I avoid the shuttle train between the concourses and take the moving sidewalks, instead. It's an attempt to compensate for a lack of exercise in my daily life. I've been on and off these moving sidewalks so many times that I don't need to think about the transitions from "ground not moving" to "ground moving" to "ground not moving." But here's the kicker: every now and then, one of the moving sidewalks won't be moving. And usually, I'll walk on it, anyway, just for fun. And you know what's weird? I usually lurch getting on and off. My brain is so accustomed to having that piece of metal beneath my feet moving that it doesn't adjust well to the times it's not moving. It used to be that I could close my eyes a few steps before the beginning or the end of the dormant sidewalk and make the transition seamlessly, but lately when I've tried that, I stumble, anyway. Apparently, my brain is now calculating the distance and preparing for the transition even without the proximate visual cues.

I'm sure there's a spiritual lesson somewhere in here about learning to deal with life a certain way and not transitioning well to new realities, but frankly, I'm more interested in the physio-cognitive aspects of this phenomenon. Brains are amazing things.

Vogue, Glamour, Elle, GQ, . . . and Then There's Us
A recent poll of 1500 European hotel managers (see pages 2-3) reported that Americans are the 2nd best overall travelers, behind the Japanese, and the most generous tippers by far. One category that stands out, based on my own recent and upcoming travels, is Best Dressed. The Italians win this one, by far, followed by the French and Spanish. I'm planning to go to Italy next month, so maybe I'll pick up a few duds while I'm there. And perhaps I need to: the Worst Dressed in the poll were the Americans, by far. I've done my own survey on my last couple airport trips, and I have to agree. Just go to the airport and try to find someone dressed with any sense of style. When you do, it'll most likely be a foreigner. What is it about America that requires us to look like slobs when we go out in public? Why is comfort our highest value, and why are we so aesthetically clueless? Is there any connection between poor fasion and poor architecture and poor city design? Is it a coincidence that some of the world's best architecture is in Italy and France, the countries where the people dress the best?

That's all for now. I need to go pack for tomorrow's trip.


  1. Is there a correlation between the worst tippers, rudest customers and being among the best dressed?
    (re: The French, for example)

    And, as for being the very best dressed, why aren't the Italians considered among the nicest and the most generous?

    And, if you were to be critiqued, how much more value would you place on your heart than your looks?

    Vivre la difference!

  2. I think the city design and architecture bother me way more than fashion. I think it sad that every little town I visit has the exact same looking stores and resturants(McDonalds, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Checkers, Chiles, banks, etc.). Yet, its even more sad that I get a comfortable feeling when I recognized places that I know, like food joints. Can't they at least vary the design a little?? It would be nice to actually visit some towns/cities where almost nothing looks like the local strip mall or suburban subdivision...(hey,an idea for a new blog:)