The Sedentary Life

Much to my dismay, we do not lead a sedentary life.  I house a vision of such an existence but it appears to be some ephemeral, synaptic event just beyond the peripheral outreaches of reality….at least for now.  Since retirement, which unbelievably occurred just over two entirely nonproductive years ago, Susan and I have travelled widely.  Most remarkably,  I have yet to make a single flight, hotel or VRBO reservation.  My responsibility lies in primarily waking each morning with a bag packed and ready to go with no expectation of making a constructive contribution to society.

We travel primarily Southwest Airlines which we like a lot but it all started because that was about the only way to get to Reno, other than that camel riding thing with the donkey section through the mountains.  Anyway, having flown more miles than Lucky Lindbergh, we’ve figured out a few arial survival techniques. First of all, on most flights regardless of the airline, there will be an inordinate amount of hacking, coughing, sneezing and nose blowing.  It also becomes unavoidably apparent that the average American traveler has outgrown the average airline seat and their carryon bags have outgrown the overhead spaces.  Those with the most and heaviest bags are also the least capable of lifting them into the overhead.  Did I mention that Southwest, unlike the other airlines, will allow you to check two bags – for free!  On Southwest  there are also no assigned seats.  The earlier you check in, the sooner you board the plane.  So as soon as possible before our flights, Susan will check us in – I have never had to learn how.  Even as quick as she can be, we are never in the first group to board (some room for improvement there)  but almost always board early enough to stake out an entire row.  Typically she will take the window seat and I will seize the isle leaving that dreaded middle seat.  It is rare these days that a flight is not fully booked but on occasion we will score the whole row.  When the flight is full, things get a bit more interesting.  Being in the isle seat I get to begin the interview process for “our” middle seat.  I begin with the request for a note from their physician verifying that they have no cold, flu, or contagious disease and I like to  take a quick glimpse at their passport to confirm that they have not been out of the country in the last 30 days.  Next, I always carry a tape measure with me to take waist and hip measurements to ensure that we’ll all have a pleasant and comfortable flight.  If they’ve been struggling with their bags, the’ve already been referred to another row. We check their shoes and underwear for hidden  explosive devises then tactfully explain that there will be no small talk and no baby pictures.  We’re not on this flight to make new friends.  “Flying the friendly skies” is with some other airline! Having passed all these tests, having signed all our waivers and having made it clearly understood that under no circumstances will they be getting up to use the rest room  we offer them the seat of their choice, as long as it’s the middle one, if they agree to buy the drinks for our row – still no talking though and they will be required to wear the surgical mask that we provide. As you may well imagine, this hastens the boarding process as it is often necessary to interview several passengers who desire our amiable company as traveling companions.

So our most recent aero-journey took us out to Reno, once again, and from there off to Yosemite National Park for a weekend with Brian’s family which is always a good time and  a chance to spend time with our westerly grandson.  Yosemite is spectacular as is much of the rest of California.  And big!! The scale of everything out there is just beyond what can be envisioned from the comfort of the shady copses and glens of the east. From Yosemite, Susan and I headed west.  On to Paso Robles wine country, Cambria and San Simeon on the  Pacific where we pitched our tent for the night – literally… Now one of the beauties of camping is that it gets dark long before the time you usually go to bed.  So climbing into your sleeping bag at 8:45, even after a hearty dosing of wine while watching the sunset, leaves a lot of time before the first bird sings.  During these sleepless hours, I ascertained that if one was to trace our origins back it would be discovered that mine was the tribe who invented the mattress.  We may have even had the novel idea of putting a roof over our heads.  Susan on the other hand stems from a line that has more recently stumbled down the evolutionary path and has retained the vestigial behavioral ability to sleep on the ground, in a tree, in a swamp or even in a subway standing, sitting or lying down!  So after repeating “How lucky I am to have her sleeping by my side,” 1440 times fast, I was also lucky enough to hear that first bird sing.  A welcome sound, alerting me that I could roll, for one last time, from one bruised hip to the other and slither past the tent flap which for some reason always has cold water ready to splash against your face.  With weary legs, weary eyes and a damp face I was ready to face the chill coastal morning and wait for Susan to get up.  Rise she did, coffee we found, and more splendors did we discover!

There is really too much to tell but due to a washout of part of Route 1 near Big Sur resulting from heavy spring  rains, we were detoured inland; and traveling as we often do with no real plan and an early glass of wine under our belt, it was noted that Pinnacles National Park was not far out of our way  (since when you have no plan, you have no way!) Susan greeted this suggestion with her usual enthusiasm and a comment that went something like this “I’ve always wanted to go there.” This train of thought needn’t be carried too far, but there comes a time of life where everyday is a new adventure.  After a fair amount of driving, we entered the park and almost simultaneously looked at each other and asked “Haven’t we been here before?”  The answer to that question can be found in our photo album from 2012.

One more thing and I’ll let you go.  If you had the misfortune of reading my last entry you might recall mention of my new lawn mower.  The orange, push, reel, environmentally friendly mower?  Well after reading my last entry Susan thought “Gee, maybe buying that wasn’t the best idea I ever had.”  So she decided to send it back,  which we had 30 or 60 or some number of days to do.  Turns out that neither Amazon nor the company that makes that lawnmower wants it back!  As a matter of fact they refunded our money on the condition that we wouldn’t try to return it!

So would anyone like to buy a lawnmower?

Not yet sedentary,       Grumpa



  1. tomc


    Few have ever made doing relatively nothing sound so busy.

    As for your unwanted flight mates, a technique I used in my college years , when a ride on a Greyhound was a luxury alternative to hitching , was to affect a tubercular cough as people approached my seat. That or to ramble on about God’s coming vengeance. Nothing that would get you thrown off a Hound, but possibly a plane.


  2. Maxine

    We have been to Paso Robles several times as Craig’s family lives in San Luis Obispo close by. Craig flies to Richmond 2x/ month on business andalso had loads of travel tales! We have had 13 years of unproductive life. It’s great !! Enjoy it all!! Maxine

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