Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Challenge of Travel

I don't like to travel.  By "travel," I mean "fly in an airplane and stay in a hotel for at least one night."

One issue is the idea of planning the trip.  Remember that my wife is a medical enigma that would confound even Gregory House.  So the idea of purchasing plane tickets and making hotel reservations for a set of dates during which I have no idea whether my wife will be stricken by any number of bizarre symptoms...  Sorry, I lost my train of thought.  But the idea is ludicrous.

Even traveling alone or with relatively normal people bothers me.  The main issue for me is diet.  I need to eat fresh, high-quality, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, minimally-processed food in order to pass myself off as a normal-functioning human.  This is something that airport food and hotel fare isn't well-known for.

When I went to Maryland for two days in January, I did fine with the free hotel breakfast on day one.  Yes, most of the offerings were bread-related -- cereal, bagel, oatmeal, pancakes, etc -- and I passed those by.  But I did find mini-omelets, sausage links and fruit.  So I took two of the omelets (which each had a mere teaspoon of chopped green peppers) several sausages, and a banana.  Yes, sausage meat is processed, but I did okay with it.  But on day two, the only thing I could eat was the bacon, and that more resembled wrinkled pink plastic than meat.  So I ate that and then went to the deli next door to buy an omelet loaded with vegetables.  Now that I think of that hotel stay, I never did get asked to complete a survey -- I was looking forward to lambasting them on their understanding of nutrition.

One other minor issue is that I seem to do things backwards in the morning.  When I get up in the morning, I like to eat first (after feeding the cats and dogs, getting my daughter off to school, fetching the newspaper, scooping the litterboxes, taking the dog out for a brief walk and making my lunch).  Then I brush my teeth, shower and get dressed.  Of course, when I'm away from home, all that parenthetical stuff goes away.  But the reason I eat first is that "first" is the logical place for eating to be.  After all, you don't eat after brushing your teeth.  You eat before you brush your teeth.  And you don't shower and get dressed before eating because if you spill something on yourself while eating, or work up a sweat while preparing breakfast,1 you'll just have to change your clothes and maybe shower again.  My preference is to prepare and eat my breakfast while wearing the previous day's clothes, and then shower and put on fresh clothes right before leaving for work.2

But when I travel, I find that food choices are extremely limited before 7am.  So if I need to show up someplace at 8am, I'd have to eat, brush my teeth, shower, get dressed and commute all in an hour's time.  Or I have to do things backwards: brush my teeth, shower, get dressed, eat, and lastly commute, even if it means I have to go out with bacon breath and a display of coffee dribble on my shirt.

I wonder, am I the only one who has these issues?

1 It's easy to work up a sweat just by preparing breakfast in the summer, especially on a humid day if you don't have air conditioning.  And if the preparation doesn't make you sweat, the hot tea or hot coffee surely will.

2 I discretely chose not to discuss how bodily functions contribute to this issue.  I prefer to shower after using the toilet, and I usually need to use the toilet only after eating breakfast.  And sometimes I have sneezing or coughing episodes due to excess mucus in my upper respiratory system.  My preference for expelling mucus is to shower after having a nice hot breakfast and some tea.

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