Trying to Go Offline

Trying to Go Offline

I’ve been told that I have a hard time unplugging from work during vacation. That’s an unfair charge. As you can clearly see, I’m all set for snorkeling. Sure hope my laptop is waterproof.

I’ve been told that I have a hard time unplugging from work during vacation. That’s an unfair charge. As you can clearly see, I’m all set for snorkeling. Sure hope my laptop is waterproof.

Life is short – especially for my wife, who’s  barely five feet tall. The years race by, we waste time, and before you know it, we discover we’ve missed out on what’s important in life: pizza.

Add to this reality our obsession with technology, which is constantly at our fingertips. It can be hard to break free from the bombardment of texts, social media and emails constantly vying for our attention. I can easily pull an all-nighter just watching Randy Rainbow videos on YouTube.

That’s why my wife and I have decided to get away from it all. Right now, we’re vacationing on a pristine island paradise thousands of miles from any major city. I won’t reveal where we are, because we’ve chosen to unplug from the hectic pace of our lives.

In the spirit of getting off the grid, I even left my laptop at home (because, frankly, who needs a laptop if you have a smart phone – just ask anyone under the age of 25). For one week, we’re going to focus on slowing down, breathing in the ocean air, and smelling the roses (though I’ve yet to spot a rose). We plan to take long hikes, kayak, and –

… Sorry about that. I just got a text from my sister. Thought it might be important. She’s been going through an issue at work with her boss… Like I said, for the next seven days, I’m committed to getting in touch with myself … just as soon as I get in touch with my broker. Hold that thought….

… Again, my apologies. I realized that there was a voicemail from my broker marked “Urgent.” Had to check it. He advised me to sell all my Sears stock while they’re still worth 15 cents a share.

…. Now, where was I? Oh yes, being totally present with my wife during our special 168 hours alone…. So, this evening, I’m surprising her by taking her to see … a penguin playing the piano! OMG, that’s hilarious. Oh, sorry. Someone just posted on FB the funniest clip of a penguin. You really need to see it. Soooo cute!

… My point is that I really want to slow my life down and be totally here, in the moment, with the most special person in my life… The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Hey, Season Two is now streaming on Amazon! There go my plans for a nature walk this afternoon with my sweetie.

This man is on top of the world, totally present with nature. What’s he thinking in his moment of Zen? If I had to wager a guess, it’s probably, “What the F? No internet? “

This man is on top of the world, totally present with nature. What’s he thinking in his moment of Zen? If I had to wager a guess, it’s probably, “What the F? No internet? “

[Nine hours later] … I’ve just finished binge-watching the second season of Mrs. Maisel. Fortunately, we have six more days here on Fantasy Island to smell the flowers and feel the ocean … BREEZ!!! Are you kidding me? The Saints are seriously considering trading Hall of Fame QB Drew Breez for a 1st round draft pick? That’s what my ESPN alert message just notified me. Unbelievable.

I know what you’re thinking – Tim, you are clearly incapable of unplugging. You need a 12-Step Program. I admit, I got off to a bumpy start, but now I’m even more determined to turn off all devices and concentrate on some us time with my lovely wife. She puts up with so much from me, standing by me through even the most stormy … DANIELS hush money lawsuit against Trump might get tossed – according to Politico. Thank goodness I’m on their email list or I’d have missed this crucial news story.

Speaking of emails, there are 78 new ones in my inbox – mostly from work. Hmmm…. I can power through them in a flash, send out a blast “Out of office” message, and still have time to chillax the rest of the trip. That’ll work.

[Three hours later…] There! Job done! I am SO looking forward to lying in a chaise lounge on the beach, sipping a Mountain Dew from a frosted mug, and reading a good book. Ugh! I can’t see the screen on my Kindle with this blazing sun! Alright, I’ll just close my eyes and listen to the soothing sounds of waves lapping against the shore …. on Pandora. Or how about some Calypso music? That conga beat makes me feel like I’m on a tropical island – oh, right, I am.

That’s it. No more distractions. From now on this week, I’m only going to think about what really matters (other than pizza) and ask myself the important questions, like how to be a better husband and how to do my part to tackle global warming … how many licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? And should The Wall be built of Legos? Sorry, that last one was an insta-poll question from Buzzfeed. How embarrassing. I thought I had unsubscribed.

Look at this businessman. Oblivious to the beauty around him as he checks his email. So ridiculous - using all that data. Doesn’t he know the hotel has WiFi?

Look at this businessman. Oblivious to the beauty around him as he checks his email. So ridiculous – using all that data. Doesn’t he know the hotel has WiFi?

Anyway, I can’t wait to take windsurfing lessons – something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a quick study when it comes to sports, so mastering this should be a snap… chat from our elder daughter. She sent an adorable video of her two kitties chasing the laser pointer. Never seen that before!

Like I was saying, it’s all about the here and now. In a minute, I’m going to take my wife out on a bicycle built for two. Won’t she be surprised when she learns that … Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France! Okay, I don’t know who he is, so I guess I could have ignored that alert.

Hmm, I think I should just leave the phone in our room, so it can’t distract me anymore. Time to get some fresh air and enjoy the warmth of the tropical sun … which reminds me, my friend Elizabeth has an amazing Pinterest site with tons of photos of tropical flowers and beaches and even videos of wind surfers. And I can view them all from the comfy couch in our hotel room.

Ah, it’s wonderful to unplug for a change.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

Welcome to Portland

Welcome to Portland

[The following is a message from the Portland, Oregon Visitors’ Bureau.]

Welcome to Portland, Oregon, America’s Most Livable Liberal City.

If you’re planning to spend a few days in the Rose City, we at the Portland Visitor’s Bureau would like to offer a few friendly suggestions to help make your stay as pleasant as possible.

First, we might as well get this one right out of the way. In Portland, we’re slightly left of center in our politics. If you’re a lifelong Republican or you accidentally voted for Donald Trump, no need to apologize. But, you might want to rethink your travel plans. We hear Tulsa is a place you might enjoy, with its expansive plains and oil rig fields.

But if you’re someone who thinks Hillary should have been our 45th president, or better still, Bernie, or even better yet, Spider-Man, then you’ll feel right at home here. Our city’s motto is KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD. In case you thought that was Austin, Texas’ motto, you’re right. We don’t mind sharing.

One of our more iconic residents is The Unipiper. He can be seen pedaling around town on his unicycle, donning a Darth Vader helmet while playing the Star Wars theme on his bag pipes, as they shoot flames. In most cities, such a sight might be a bit unnerving. Here in Portland, we just wave and say, “Hi, Brian.”

We’re extremely laid back about most things – that’s because at any given time, roughly half of us are stoned. We don’t mind if you’re a couple hours late to work, so long as you remember to buy a latte for a co-worker when you stop at Stumptown Coffee on your way in. Continue reading “Welcome to Portland” »

Vacation Adventures for High-Strung Travelers

Vacation Adventures for High-Strung Travelers

Welcome, Tense Traveler.

Thank you for choosing High Anxiety Tours (HAT) to arrange your trip. We’ll take care of everything. Take a deep breath and relax. We understand that as a first-time international traveler, you may be a tad nervous about venturing into the unknown. At HAT, our mission is to ensure you have a 100% stress-free experience.

So, this is your first visit to Colombia. As travel experts, trust us when we say there is (almost) nothing to worry about. Word has it that the Colombian drug lords have no documented plans to kidnap or torture American tourists in the foreseeable future. Of course, their plans are subject to change without notice.

Before you leave for the airport, remember to go through a departure checklist so you can R-E-L-A-X while away. Did you …

  • Bring your passport?
  • Pack sunscreen?
  • Turn off the stove?
  • Get a sitter for your cats?
  • Refill your Xanax?
  • Are you 100% sure you turned off the stove?

You are now ready for a calm, peaceful holiday in tranquil Colombia– that is, if you make your flight. It is imperative to be at the airport a minimum of four hours before departure, in case of unforeseen glitches such as highway construction or a wildcat strike by baggage handlers. In rare instances, flights do take off a day or so early, to adjust for the time differences. The odds TSA Security will mistake your traveler’s trepidation for drug-smuggling jitters are 3-1, at best. So, don’t sweat. No, seriously, do NOT sweat! If they see you sweat, they’ll get suspicious and probably conduct a full body cavity search.

Continue reading “Vacation Adventures for High-Strung Travelers” »

My Sinkin’ Lincoln

My Sinkin’ Lincoln

When it comes to car ownership, I’m a Hyundai kind of guy. I’ve always purchased safe, practical, mid-priced, somewhat boring cars. I’d never driven anything remotely top-end in my life. But on a recent Florida vacation, the rental company gave me a free upgrade to a luxury car. Not just any luxury car. Oh no. I’m talking an elite LINCOLN!

What a sweet ride it was. Smooth, gorgeous lines, spacious leather seats, rocket ship acceleration, and more dashboard buttons than you’d find in the cockpit of a 747. There was enough room in the trunk to easily stow both of our kids – not that I would seriously consider such a thing – unless they were acting horribly, of course. It was the most incredible driving experience of my life.

Everything was going along swimmingly. My wife was speaking to me for a change. The weather was 75 degrees and sunny every day. And people I drove past were giving me that “what makes you think you’re better than me?” look. Answer: “I’m driving a Lincoln – You’re driving a Ford Fiesta.”

Maybe I was getting a little too full of myself driving around with that smug expression on my face. I guess it was just a matter of time before God weighed in to teach me a lesson in humility. And that happened right after I went to church. Technically I wasn’t there for a church service. That just happened to be where a classical guitar concert was taking place. The church parking lot was full – of Chevys and Priuses and such. But not a single Lincoln – until I made my grand entrance, with my smokin’ sunglasses. I was seriously stylin’ in my Linc. (I’ll bet that’s what cool dudes call their Lincolns. But I’m just guessin’.)

Continue reading “My Sinkin’ Lincoln” »

An American Tourist’s Guide to Vacationing in Italy

An American Tourist’s Guide to Vacationing in Italy

Italy - coastal townPeople often ask me, “Tim, how do you know so much about other countries?” It’s true. I consider myself an authority on world geography. For example, did you know that Africa is not actually a country? Don’t worry. Donald Trump didn’t know either – and soon he’ll be our overlord, er, I mean, president.

I don’t like to brag, but I know many important things about the world’s nations, primarily from consistently losing in the board game RISK during college. (I always went for Australia. Bad strategy.) So this week, let’s discuss what you need to know about what is arguably the most popular vacation destination for Americans – that is, if you don’t count the country of North America. I am, of course, talking about Italy.

Let’s face it. You’re way too busy binge-watching Game of Thrones to read Rick Steves’ 874-page guide book on Italy that your wife asked you to read. So, I have done the work for you by highlighting everything you need to know. Follow my advice to the letter and you’ll have a wonderful time – and probably won’t get arrested. On a completely unrelated topic, Italian policemen have no sense of humor. This I discovered when I offered one 5,000 liras to try out his riot gear and Taser. [Travel Tip: When attempting to bribe a “poliziotto” do NOT offer liras. Seems they’re not appreciated ever since Italy transitioned over to the euro.]

History: Italy is an extremely old country. I mean seriously old. It’s amazing it can still stand after all these centuries. If Italy were a pet, it would have been put down decades ago. But it has an amazing history that dates back to well before the American Civil War. Its history can be divided into four periods:

The Roman Empire: The country was ruled by emperors called Caesars, who loved salad (in fact, a staple of every household was the Caesar salad). They wore amusing wreaths on their heads and long, flowing togas – just like the ones worn in the acclaimed film Animal House. They built elaborate marble temples to a bunch of pagan gods they stole from Greece without paying for them. And if you did not believe in these gods, you’d be executed. Continue reading “An American Tourist’s Guide to Vacationing in Italy” »