meet me at the place near the thing where we went that time


Here’s the thing: travel is not for everybody. It is not easy. Sure, we’re living in a time of miracles – I’ll leave Los Angeles today at 4:50pm and wake up on the other side of the earth – but nobody should ever feel bad about balking in the face of such a cavalcade of minutiae both minute and mountainous.

This is especially true now; technology was supposed to make travel smoother, but if you plan on keeping beloved gadgetry in another country, you’ve just added a geometric layer of busywork. I spent 2 hours on tech chat with AT&T in order to get texts in Italy (at least ones that don’t cost 3,50 € a character) and I won’t know if it works until I get there.

Yes, there are those trips where you can “go native”, flush your cellphone down the loo and do lines of blow on your iPad, but this isn’t that sort of trip – I have to keep in radio contact for work, and also make sure I rendezvous with the ladies in Rome.

Hopefully, y’all know what I mean by “the ladies”. This isn’t 1990, after all. But while we’re on the subject… FUCK! Wouldn’t texting have made things SO MUCH EASIER back then? How the wandering lemurfuck did we do anything back then?

I mean, I met people at airports. At the People Express terminal in Newark. In Madrid! Without cellphones! I can’t even remember how we made arrangements… did we write letters, and just assume everything would work out?


When I was 13, my parents let me take a BUS to Chicago from Cedar Rapids, IA. I stayed at the Bismarck Hotel because I saw an AD for it in the BACK OF THE NEW YORKER. I did it because I wanted to see the painting American Gothic at the AIC. I had no idea how to get to the Bismarck, or the Art Institute, and my parents had no plausible way to reach me. How did these things happen?

Have we been rendered completely fetal? Did I spend three hours researching European schuko Apple-compatible USB chargers because I have become a hopelessly emasculated, lily-livered glob of high-maintenance goo?


Wait, I got completely distracted. What were we talking about?


8 thoughts on “meet me at the place near the thing where we went that time

  1. Kaarin

    I backpacked around Europe with no contact with my parents other than the occasional postcard. I think parents today would faint at the thought.
    But Ian – yes, we made phone calls and said we’ll meet at X spot at X time. Then there would be the all-important Backup Plan involving Y spot at Y time.

  2. christi

    and the missed/near missed connections were always the best stories. my husband planned a render-vous with friends on a bridge in Prague for noon. No specific day planned…just noon each day until they all showed up together.

  3. killian

    I met a young man beneath the Eiffel Tower. We had been in Spain together, split up to travel different routes, and met back in Paris a week or so later. In 1977. Have no earthly idea how we made that happen. . .young and lucky? The mind boggles.

  4. Wot top

    So how many folks don’t know that American Gothic is a farmer and his daughter. Pretty much everyone who works in advertising.


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