Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19: Anchor Chains, Plane Motors, and Train Whistles

Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles.

George Bailey is talking to his Uncle Billy at the train depot, waiting for his brother, Harry, to return from college.  George has been running the Building & Loan while his brother went off to school, a situation that came about because of the death of their father.  Now, Harry is coming home to take the reins of the business while George gets his chance to follow his dreams.  While they're waiting for Harry's train, George asks Uncle Billy what the three most exciting sounds in the world are.  His answer is the quote above.

I've never been much for long trips, especially long car trips.  They tire me out and usually don't seem worth the effort or expense.  I do like going to new places.  I just don't like the process of getting to new places.  One of the best times of my life was my honeymoon in Hawaii.  My wife and I island-hopped, stayed in Volcano National Park, and snorkeled in Hanauma Bay.  It was a gorgeous vacation.  However, we were on planes for about twelve hours getting there.  On the way home, it was an eight-hour direct flight from Honolulu to Chicago.  I hate flying.  I nearly went crazy.

Most of the vacations I take are stay-cations.  I don't generally go anywhere.  I just hang around, go to a movie or two, and read a book I've been dying to read.  That's my idea of a good time.  No stress.  No gas tanks to fill.  No plane tickets to purchase.  No hotel rooms to book.  Now, most of you are thinking that I'm the most boring person on the planet, and you may be right.  However, I don't have a problem with boring.

Boring means nothing is changing.  Boring means stability.  Boring means no surprises.  I'll take boring any day over exciting.

Of course, this attitude stems from past turmoil in my life.  I've had plenty of excitement in the last ten years.  I don't need any more.  About the only excitement I want are awards and accolades:  Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize, National Book Award, Blog of Note.  That's good excitement.  That's the kind of excitement I can go home and celebrate without having to board and jet or Greyhound. 

Some of the worst moments of my life have begun with someone saying this to me:  "I know how much you don't like surprises, but..."  Marriage going south.  Best friends moving away.  Coworkers getting other jobs.  Surprise has never been a friend of mine.

George Bailey learns that his life has been pretty good without the sounds of anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles.  He learns that fulfillment can be found in his backyard, his living room, his kitchen.  No surprises needed.  That's a pretty good lesson in my book.

Saint Marty is liking George Bailey more and more.

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