the more things change

It feels like I’ve taken a lot of mini vacations this year. It’s really only doable because of my job. I may make diddly squat, but I get a ton of hours off to compensate, so it allows me to take mini vacations like this often. Most of the time I end up couch surfing at friend’s places, and I’ve learned how to stretch my travel dollars, so these little trips don’t end up costing too much.

One random travel tip I’ve learned is to fly on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Flights seem cheaper on those days. Since the Sacramento airport isn’t as busy, often times the planes aren’t fully booked, so if you’re willing to sit near the wing you can often get an empty seat next to you. You just need to be able to live with the slightly louder engine noise. I’m willing to do that for an empty seat next to me that I can sprawl out on. Since I work in an office that’s mostly filled with women, I’m good at drowning out loud monotonous noises (bwahahaha just kidding…)

It was looking good for my flight out from Sac to the east coast. I had an empty seat next to me. But then the stewardess moved the guy in the aisle seat and switched in two Russian women. I don’t know what it is about Russian women– they’re all extremely loud. So I was seated next to these two obnoxiously loud Russian women, hoping/wishing/praying that they’d fall asleep. Thankfully after an hour or so of screaming to each other they fell asleep, which would’ve been a good thing except the one seated next to me kept slumping over towards me and snoring in my ear. So I started to hope/wish/pray that she would slump over the other way. Not too long afterwards she did, which would’ve been a good thing except for some reason now she was gassy. So I started to hope/wish/pray that the flight would somehow go quicker. Not too long afterwards we landed in DC, almost an hour ahead of schedule, which was awesome, except that my connecting flight to JFK ended up being delayed by almost two hours. So I guess the moral of this little side story is that you should be careful what you hope/wish/pray for– you might get it.

Anyways, the whole point of this little mini vacation was to hang out with a couple of friends in New York. Things have changed a lot in the past few years with all of my friends. They’re scattered all over the place. Some are pursuing more school, others are working hard at climbing that corporate ladder. Some are married and some even have kids. Big life changes. But when I hang out with them, it feels just like old times. Nothing’s really changed.

My college roommate, Chris, is one of those friends who hit most of those big life changes already. He has a son, Sam who I last saw a couple of months ago. Things change even quicker for little kids. Last time I saw him, he was just barely waddling. Now he’s walking, starting to talk, and even learning how to diagnose health problems. He pointed in the direction of my belly and said, “No. No.” Why yes, Sammy, I guess I could stand to go on a diet and lose a few pounds. Smart kid.

I ended up timing my mini vacation so that I could help Chris and his family move. That was just like old times, like moving days in college, except with way more stuff. Just like in college I spent a night in the living room lying somewhere between a random pile of boxes. Between loading and unloading boxes were random bits of conversation. Those were almost exactly like I remember from college roommate days, with Chris doing most of the talking and me interjecting with random thoughts here and there.

I spent the other half of my mini vacation in upstate New York, visiting a friend from church, Osmond, who was at a college in Rochester for a master’s in social work. When we used to hang out, it was usually either because we were driving around somewhere, or we were eating. Basically most of our time hanging out in Rochester was the same. I drove around randomly, exploring the city and suburbs of Rochester. Osmond is one of those rare individuals who is even less talkative than I am. Hanging out with him was just like I remember, with me doing some talking and with Osmond interjecting with random thoughts here and there.

In both NYC and upstate New York I had a day to myself. In NYC I ended up visiting museums. I’ve always had a fascination with the Guggenheim museum, but found it sorta disappointing when I actually went inside and viewed the galleries. On the other hand, I was amazed by the NY Metropolitan museum. They had a humongous collection of very cool artwork. In upstate New York I made a trip out to Niagara falls. I got there early, so there was no one there, so I got to take a piss from the bridge connecting the islands above the falls. I thought it was kind of cool to think that some of my DNA made it over one of the biggest waterfalls in the world (does urine even contain DNA?) On my way back I made a quick stop in Buffalo and ate at the birthplace of the buffalo wing.

Have you ever heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same?” I think it’s especially true for good friends. I learned that over this past week’s mini vacation. Things can change a lot, but time spent hanging out is pretty much the same.

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