Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Whining about whinging

There's a lot of whinging going on right now, and I'm tired of it. What's worse is that my efforts to vent don't sound any better than the original complaining. It's a perpetual cycle of whinge!

My dad had a stroke recently. I have somehow managed to suppress my angst over this. He can't move his left side very well, and he's in rehab to try and get some movement back. There's a lot of worry about what's going to happen if this, or that, and I just can't hear any of it. Perhaps I'm in denial. I prefer to think that I'm looking at the bright side.

I've got some much needed time off at the moment. It give me a chance to become even more enraptured with the World Cup, and of course, there's the TdF starting soon as well.

Monday, June 12, 2006

That old familiar

My hometown of Ocean City, NJ has a very distinct smell in the summer. It's not really one I can describe. It's in the air. I think it consists of equal parts ocean air, fresh pizza right from the oven, caramel corn, cotton candy, salt water taffy, and all the other things that combine to make Ocean City what it is: a barrier island on the Jersey shore where thousands of people over generations have spent their summers. The aroma is a reminder of all that I love and hate about the O.C. It doesn't exist in the dead of winter, when plywood covers most of the store fronts on the boardwalk and the town is reduced to the year-rounders that call hit home for all 12 months of the year. Don Henley's 'Boys of Summer' is an apt theme song for a place like Ocean City. It always reminds me of home when I hear it. No, the smell only really starts around Memorial Day weekend, and seems to go away at the proverbial end of the summer season on Labor Day weekend.

When I was growing up there, summer was so much fun. It seems that since those days in the early 70's the number of people that come to the shore in the summer has grown exponentially. Now the weekends that I happen to be visiting are something I've come to dread over the past few years. There are just so many people, so many cars, long lines for my favorite pizza place, and streams of traffic that seem like red blood cells moving through every artery of pavement on the map. This cycle starts on Friday evenings, when waves of people escape the summer heat of the city by seeking the cooling waves of the ocean, and tapers off on Sunday when the masses return to the megopolis. Anyone making the mistake of trying to do everyday things like errands during summer weekends quickly realizes the mistake they've made.

What's worse about the swell of the population in the summer, is the seasonal cutoff of my favorite riding route here. I've got this coastal route that I like to ride that includes 2 sections of boardwalk on different islands. Bikes aren't allowed on the boardwalks in the summer, except for very early hours and well, I'm not an early riser. My enjoyment of that smell is therefore limited to walks on the boards. Getting there involves sitting in that horrible traffic though, so it's become a rare event for me to enjoy.

I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that the sense of smell was the most powerful of the 5 because of it's ability to open floodgates of memories. Tonight, while I was picking up a pizza from Mack & Manco's at 9th and Boardwalk, I was hit by a waft of that perfume that only Ocean City produces, and I was reminded of all the things I've always loved about the Jersey shore.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Land of the highly modified class

Just when I thought I might change my tune about southern California, something happens that reminds me how much I don't like it here. In this case, I had to stop at 5 hotels before I found one that had a vacancy. Luckily I got the last room at this one. I drove around for an hour and a half trying to find one.

I got lulled into a false sense of relaxation over the last week. I was staying with one of the sales reps that is an overwhelmingly likeable guy. He and his family have hosted the Trek/Fisher pro race teams for years during the Redlands Classic race. Now they allow those of us on the demo scene to invade their space. A busy week was made easier by their hospitality. I acutally gave some consideration to driving back the 90 miles to their house rather than continue driving around any more here.

Tomorrow I get the thrill of driving to Las Vegas after another event. I probably won't get there until midnight. Then I hop on a plane to Philly for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.