This blog post is merely an aside, though it was motivated by some events on my retirement trip.
One of the themes of my life is that pilgrimages and journeys inevitably have surprises and those interruptions may turn out to be the best part of the trip. Serendipities! Getting lost and going down the wrong road may take you to the most photographic scene you have ever viewed.
Just to be balanced in my reporting, I need to say this: All aggravations on the road are not adventures. All wrong turns are not romantic. All breakdowns are not fun. All annoyances are not interesting. I missed a highway sign going around Montreal from Quebec to Ottawa. Twenty-five miles and one hour later, I was back on track. I learned no lessons. A six-hour trip became a seven-hour trip.
Driving from South Carolina to New Jersey, somewhere around Maryland, the traffic became stop and crawl. I became irritable and anxious. To exacerbate my tension, I was listening to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I listen to books/CD’s in the car because I love to read and the good stories keep me company and keep me awake. The nerve-wracking plot of the original vampire novel and the highway congestion combined were too much. I turned off the CD, but I stayed in the car and kept plowing ahead toward my room reservation. Traffic was not going to improve in that area—ever. No socially redeeming lessons that I could figure. Add to that the indignity of paying something like $75 in tolls going up that bedeviled Northeast corridor and I was not thinking pleasant and happy thoughts.
So, for anyone who ever wants to challenge what seems to be my sometimes Pollyanna attitude toward ordeals experienced when on a holiday, I readily confess that I feel your pain. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes aggravation is just aggravation.