People Suck

The past week had me traveling more than I have in all my years combined prior to it: Vegas, San Fran, Cincinnati, Houston, Atlanta, and Sea Girt. I’m so tired, hungover and jet-lagged that I can see through time. My hair hurts. Insert your motto for burning the candle at both ends here…

Friends say I redefine the term, “A Creature of Habit.” This is a very accurate assessment, as with very few exceptions I eat the same exact three mealson all weekdays (five egg-white platter with American cheese in the morning, Grilled chicken with romaine lettuce, egg whites, cherry tomatoes for lunch, and Mr. Wrap’s grilled chicken dough wrap with mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers and balsamic for dinner).

I always go to the same spot in the Parker House 34 times a summer.

I always watch the first inning of Sunday Night Baseball regardless of who is playing.

I consistently play Sinatra’s Moon Songs CD before going out on a Saturday night. I can’t sleep unless it is below 65 degrees in a room.

I only drink water or alcohol.

The SundressFest is always hosted on 4th of July weekend..the Green and Red Festivus is always the weekend before the weekend before Christmas.

I will never miss a Hunt. Ever.

I never watch 24 live because it can be seen in 42 minutes via DVR.

You get the point.

That’s why traveling is a very foreign and unwelcome concept to me . Ultimately and always, I enjoy my routine and rarely break from it unless it’s a special event or work duty calls.

Some call this kind of life close-minded. I call it staying in my comfort zone.

And now I know why I rarely venture outside the bubble:




OK, so some have called me the Mayor of Hoboken or Sea Girt. Truth is, every group of friends has one guy that is designated the Mayor of something. But it is true that I like being in the center of the action. I am keen on hosting and attending parties. So with all of these social preferences, how can I loathe my fellow man?

The answer is that social tact is something paramount to me. And my travels over the past week made me realize that despite living in arguably the most civilized country in the world, our citizens are just like any other residents of other lands in terms of sharing one thing in common: They are only out for themselves. Courtesy be damned…

Example #1: On a flight from Houston to Atlanta, I arrived at my seat to find two women talking between the aisle and window seat. Mine was in the middle, so I offered to sit on one of the ends of the row of three to allow them to speak.

“Oh no, that’s not necessary. We’ll be with each other for the next week and will probably be sick of each other by then.” I politely chuckled and took the sandwich seat. After falling asleep nearly 10 minutes into the flight, I was suddenly awaken by cackling of one of the women speaking quite loudly to the other.

I opened my eyes and gave a decidedly cold stare to the originator of the cacophony. Unfazed, she continued to babble about all-things-inane, and for the next 90 minutes the two continued to ramble non-stop, sometimes even simultaneously, until the flight mercifully ended.

“Sorry if we kept you up,” one of the women said as I gathered my stuff.

What, you didn’t think about that before we took off when I offered you my seat?

Vegas was no better, simply because allowing people to drink for free while betting can’t be a good formula for social decorum.

“You ain’t gonna hit that?” one of the players asked as I held on a 12 against a 6, a textbook play if the dealer is holding a bad card when playing blackjack.

“Why would I hit?” I asked.

“Because you’re a pussy if you don’t,” he laughed in only a way a Whiskey Tango hick with an Alabama polo shirt could. “12 is a good card to hit on.”

After explaining to this idiot that you only hit on a dealer-showing-6 on 11 or under with the dealer herself nodding her approval, I simply grabbed my chips after the dealer predictably busted with the 10 that would have done me in, winked at said idiot, and left the table. Note to self: Never play blackjack at 2:00 AM unless you enjoy associating with assclowns.

Example #3: On the long security line from Vegas to San Francisco and already running very late for my flight (always give yourself two hours at the airport when leaving Vegas on a Monday…it’s a complete shitshow), one woman is told to throw out her gel, hairspray, toothpaste and a bottle of water that she decided to bring with her in a carry-on. Of course, she has not paid attention to the news for the past year or has any inkling whatsoever from the 70 announcements in the airport advising that such products are banned on flights as carry-ons ever since a terrorist plot was foiled in Britain by terrorists who planned to mix chemicals carried in such containers to blow up 10 planes almost simultaneously over the Atlantic bound for the United States.

Instead of acquiescing to the bag checker’s request to throw out the stuff, she decides to argue, thereby holding up the line for 10 crucial minutes.

“Do I look like a terrorist to you?” she stammered. “Do you know how much these cost me?”

Now she knows this kind of situation is like a batter arguing a third-strike call in baseball and therefore won’t ever be resolved in her favor. She is completely cognizant that the security line has been brutal and many people are going to miss their flights if she continues down this path to nowhere. But this isn’t about the 100 people waiting…it’s all about her. She eventually throws the $17.00 worth of items out and mumbles to no one in particular until she vanishes from view.

It’s times like these when I yearn for Hoboken, the familiar faces and relative order when it comes to everything from ordering food to calling a cab. Things are simply more obedient, more amenable here. It’s outside the bubble where things are as aggravating as an unresolved Sopranos plot (the Russian in the Pine Barrens, Bobby shooting that French guy in the laundrymat and leaving ample evidence behind but never getting called on it, or the guy from Thirtysomething getting gunned down by Christopher without any further mention despite Montesanti being the obvious #1 suspect, and who raped Dr. Melfi six seasons ago? OK, space limitations don’t allow for further expansion).

Sure, Hoboken isn’t perfect and our residents do more complaining about the so-called horrible conditions here without acting on it very much (Example: Only 7,088 out of 31,000 registered voters went to the polls in the last city council election on May 8…so much for the power of the internet raising awareness of the issues and raising the number of votes cast), but overall there’s nothing that matches the comfort factor of a small town with the big city options that Hoboken provides.

And that’s why my version of traveling outside of the box normally consists of a weekend in LBI as opposed to Sea Girt, or why the Upper East Side might as well be East Jabib (Side note: Does a place called “East Jabib” actually exist, or is it like in the board game Risk which featured fictional countries like Kamchatka and Yakutsk?).

It’s why the 18-34 demographic is so coveted by advertisers and marketers, as it represents a time in a person’s life when they are still establishing their buying habits. It seems that once that the tail end of that demo is surpassed, men and women are too set in their ways to make a change in their behavior. We have established everything…in most cases our husband or wife, and in even in more instances where we will live for the rest of our lives, at least in terms of area. And in that thought process, we basically decide to avoid all non-members of what we consider to be an exclusive club whose access is an unwritten hall pass to our increasingly isolated existences.

Realhoboken travel writer Craig Zabransky says, “The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.”

If incorporating other characters in that book outside of the sandbox means getting to page two, then just remind me to stay far away from Barnes and Noble.