Monday, July 16, 2012


At this moment, I'm in an expensive hotel in Miami Beach. I'm here because I'm attending DevCon, which is perhaps not as silly but perhaps just as nerdy as Comic-Con. I don't have much to tell you about this conference, except that I'm almost giddy with the opportunity. I never thought, when I asked, that my employer would actually pay for me to attend. I'm apparently consuming almost the entirety of my department's training budget to be here. The pressure is keeping me in attendance at all of the sessions and off the beach, which rumor has it is easily accessible out the back door of this hotel.

Because I must seek reimbursement for my travel expenses, and because I am less than 100% clear on the rules, limitations, and requirements for travel reimbursement, I am hesitant to spend any actual money here. This is a resort hotel, which translates in my mind to "expensive as hell," and I do not think "expensive as hell" translates well to expense reports when seeking reimbursement. So I'm trying my best to live on the cheap here. I took the "shared ride" option from the airport rather than the "private car" or "taxi" option.

And aside from the expense, which I suspect would not be fully reimbursed, on the few occasions that I get to travel outside of my own little white bread suburban world, why would I want to keep myself sequestered in the resort world, where a dinner not only costs me $40 or $50 but also keeps me well removed from the world I came here to visit?

So I considered, and I concluded that asking the working folk where they eat might be a good strategy. I asked the parking valets last night where I could find a cheap dive with good food. They hemmed and hawed, put their foreheads together, and suggested I walk down the road, across the bridge, and that way a few blocks. I took their advice and wandered off the resort hotel strip a ways. I've wandered that direction both days so far.

Last night, I was the only man at Asi's Grill and Sushi Bar that wasn't wearing a yarmulke. The shawarma laffa was delicious, and  stunningly huge. I ate the other half for breakfast this morning. Tonight, I was the only non-Spanish-speaking person at Latin Cafe. I love these moments when I suddenly become acutely aware that I am the minority. As a white man in the South, they don't happen often, but that awkward, frightening, exquisite realization is  delicious. Remind me to tell you about walking to Roxbury from my Emerson College dorm in 1991 to buy an audio cassette of a Malcolm X speech. With my freshly shaved head. Ah, brings a smile to my face just thinking of it.

Anyway: traveling. Childless. Good chance of getting fully reimbursed. I'm delirious with the thrill of where I am, what I'm doing, what I'm learning, and having the opportunity to miss my family. I can't wait to see Thumper and his Mama again when I get home, but I am relishing this chance to be me, by myself, for just a little while.

Oh, and I shouldn't tell you this, but I'm also naked. I'm spending almost all of my time in the hotel room naked. Apparently I like to shed my clothes when I'm completely alone. This goes back at least to (again) 1991, when I stayed in my ex-girlfriend's dorm room at Brandeis while she went home for the extended Thanksgiving weekend, when my Emerson College dorm closed and I couldn't afford to fly home. Why she let her ex stay in her room, I couldn't tell you. I suppose she was a kind and generous person, despite the fact that she dumped me. Yes, I spent most of that time in her room naked. She, being my ex-girlfriend, probably wouldn't appreciate knowing that, any more than you do now. You're welcome. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Stone for Two Birds

I've been meaning to jump back into Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge, but haven't in a long time. Also, I was declared 2nd place winner of Trifecta's first of three prompts this week, which earned me a place in the Write-Off this weekend. So I decided to fulfill the requirements of both prompts with one piece, because I'm lazy like that, and a sick kid all week kind of wore me out. Here's "Triumph" for Trifecta and "Swagger" for Velvet Verbosity, with a 100-word count:

Parenting teaches: do not plan; you will plan for the wrong eventuality. I bought my son a balance bike at two. When he graduated to a pedal bike, he wouldn’t need training wheels. But he did.

Imagining myself running beside him yelling encouragement, I bought a handle for the back of his bike. We used it once before he demanded his training wheels.

A friend rode two-wheeled; he borrowed that bike and took off without me or my plans. It was a triumph. You should have seen his swagger. He was proud, and it had nothing to do with me.
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