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Flying, family, Florida ... and fear


I’ll be flying to Florida to visit relatives for the holidays.

Y’know … there’s not a part of that sentence that doesn’t fill me with dread.

Clearly, a breakdown is in the offing. Before then, however, let’s break down the parts of that sentence, shall we, and determine whether any of the expected emotional stress can be avoided.

(Yeah, I’m not optimistic, either.)

“I’ll be flying …”

I am a nervous traveler under the best of conditions — such as not being in the air, to visit relatives, in Florida, for the holidays.

It hasn’t always been this way. Heck, used to be that we would pack up the car with our treasured belongings … and the cat … and think nothing of criss-crossing the country.

We drove from Massachusetts to Florida … to Seattle … back to Florida … back to Massachusetts and, eventually, to Oregon — without losing our things, our car, the cat or our minds.

Flying, however, just isn’t my thing … for all the reasons stand-up comedians have been milking since the time of The Wright Brothers.

Not to mention (but I will), that all of those agitations that prey on your nerves before you fly away make a return trip before you fly back home.

However, the cat — who’ll be safely ensconced beneath the Christmas tree under the care of the sitter — can’t wait for us to leave … if only to lessen the stressors in the air.

“… to Florida …”

I doubt this needs much in the way of explanation — but this is my anxiety attack, and I’ll cry if I want to.

We lived in Florida from late 1989 to mid 1994 (except for those three months in Seattle) … and it was the longest 13 years of my life — for all the reasons stand-up comedians have been milking since the time of Ponce de Leon.

I would say that going back (see the “… to visit relatives …” section) brings with it the onset of PTSD flashbacks, but I can get those just from drinking orange juice.

Let’s just say that Florida provides the unique opportunity to live in the past as well as the future — which, it turns out for the home of the Fountain of Youth, will be tanned, wrinkled and politically unstable.

You would cry to, if it happened to you.

“… to visit relatives …”

If going to Florida is a no brainer, in more ways than one, expounding on why spending time with The Fam is a sure recipe for an upset stomach should be a snap … sooner or later.

I got an email this week from one of those bot-sites that likes to inundate your inbox with poll results which would make fertilizing fodder during the doldrums of the year for columnists who will be safely ensconced with their cats for Christmas.

This particular poll suggested that the most-popular 1990s Christmas movie, based on internet searches by Oregonians, is “Home for the Holidays” — a dark comedy from 1995 that details the travails of a family gathering for … well, you know.

Why? Why? Why would we want to watch this played out on a screen, when we can look around the living room?

First, I thought it might be that the Christmas movie that best depicts what will happen when we are trapped among relatives and seeking escape came out in 1988.

I speak, of course, of “Die Hard.”

But then it dawned on me that “Home for the Holidays” provides a dependable source of schadenfreude as we gather and laugh for all the reasons stand-up comedians have been milking since the time of Adam and Eve.

The most-searched 1990s Christmas movie for the Floridians, by the way, is “Home Alone” … which, in subtext, just seems cruel.

“… for the holidays …”

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday that falls within December.

It’s December that’s the problem.

For one, it falls at the end of the year. December would be a far friendlier month if it fell somewhere between April and July — when it would be too hot to go to Florida.

That would push November to the end of the calendar and we could celebrate the year’s end with a peaceful Thanksgiving — as long as no one brought an unexpected side dish of cranberry relish to the table.

As it stands, December is when we look back and consider all the ways we screwed up — for all the reasons stand-up comedians have been milking since the time of 365 Kittens — before resolving not to make the same mistakes starting in January.

We’ll make new and different mistakes, sure, but the ones of the past 12 months? … Not a chance.

Merry Schadenfreude!

The staff at rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com joins one and all today in a glorious celebration of the Festival of Unmentionable Thoughts.