My Cousin & I Get Obnoxious As We Plan Trips on Our Computers

It’s a new day today and the coffee is strong
I’ve finally got some rest.–R.E.M.’s “Houston”

Pillow fight at Trafalgar Square.   I'm SO glad I missed this.

I’m glad I missed International Pillow Fight Day at Trafalgar Square.

My cousin and I try to figure out who’s going where when on vacation this summer.  We have a contest to see who is faster at calculating rates: she on her iPhone, I on my laptop.

Do we want to go to London, Lisbon, or Laredo?

I didn’t spend all my London money, so I see no reason not to take another trip to London.

I invited my husband, because it would be nice to travel with someone who can read a map, and I suspect that every place I went on the tube was just a brisk walk away if I’d known where I was going.

“I’m not going anywhere this summer,” he says.

I’m  disappointed.  I wonder if he’s willing to go later, or if he means he’s never going at all.  He hates to fly and says he’ll wait till Obama builds a Chunnel to England.

That will never happen, right?

While my cousin drank martinis and checked flights and hotel rates, she wondered why I don’t want to take her to London.   Uh, because she would rather drink in the hotel than go out?  Because the last time we traveled together we ended up camping in a park where it was rumored that her favorite band would play, and it was just a cover band?

“I’m kidding–what could be more boring?  But I would have got your five pounds back from that thing at Dabblers’ Books.”

“Daunt Books.”

“And, yeah, I would have shoplifted the book by A. B. Penis.”

“A. L. Kennedy?”

This is why it’s good to have a librarian in the family.  No electronic chip can defeat her, and the day my cousin walks into Daunt Books is the day they pay her to leave.

I do love my cousin.  She never reads a book, except for classic pulp fiction by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but she does know good literature from bad, and is a good librarian.

“You’re too soft on Persephones,” she says when she reads my blog.

She will read neither Persephones nor “the latest NYRB classic by a Polish-German Catholic-Jewish Gypsy Socialist whose 26 unpublished books have just been found in Berlin.”

Yes, she’s brutal, if very very funny.

Since I had nothing else to do while I drank my Starbucks molto but wait for her to calculate the cost of a trip to Tokyo, I realized idly that bloggers could and should developSelf-Guided Junkets for Tokyo, London, and every city.  The London guidebooks were helpful, but the information I got from people who commented at the blog was crucial.

It would be much quicker and easier, however, to go to Houston than to Europe.

Houston is filled with promise
Laredo is a beautiful place
Galveston sings like that song that I loved
Its meaning has not been erased

3 thoughts on “My Cousin & I Get Obnoxious As We Plan Trips on Our Computers

  1. Much as I love NYRB books, I know exactly what your cousin means! And Dashiell Hammett is one of my favourites so I’m with her there. But I definitely think you should visit London again – if only just to see the South Bank and the Tate Modern!


  2. Kat: your husband’s comment about a “Chunnel” reminded me of an event. Because I attended Greek school at the Greek Orthodox church in my hometown from the age of 14 to the age of 17, I was invited to an All Orthodox Reunion in the summer of 1998 even though I was never a church member. The first job I ever had was that of a busboy in the Town House Restaurant which was owned by George Hassapopoulos and who was still very much alive and showed up at the reunion. I was astonished to see him and struck up a conversation. I asked him if he had ever visited his relatives in his parents’ villages in Greece. “No, but whenever it is that they build a bridge across the Atlantic, I’ll be glad to drive over and visit them!” George owned a home in California where he used to spend the winter months but always drove the two thousand miles. He would never fly anywhere.


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