Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hello, I'm back

Best invention ever: DVD players for cars.

Remember those long, boring hours driving cross country on vacation when we were kids? Playing roadside bingo, getting carsick from trying to read? Seeing this great land of ours through the car window and realizing how dull the vast majority of it is? (And I love nature, I do. But let's be honest: One hour of Midwest often looks a hell of a lot like the previous hour of the Midwest.) The endless "When are we going to get there?" whines?

And now, you bring a bunch of movies and the kids watch them, sitting quietly, thoroughly entertained, and the grown-ups can talk. The grown-ups are still left to note such highlights as exotic license plates and what color cows that farm has compared to the last herd we passed, but at least the whining is greatly reduced. Technology rocks.

Observations: Not only do I have some issues with the treatment of livestock much of the time, but I also have issues with the smells that emanate from the farms with animals. A handful of sheep stink plenty—I hope I never have the opportunity to smell one of those vast factory farms with pigs. There are those who say big cities stink; to them I say, I will see you a garbage truck and raise you the manure from a herd of cattle.

Here is one bizarre thing from my trip: My mom, my sister, and our kids had dinner at Applebee's in a farming/meatpacking town in Minnesota with some old family friends. We fought over the check and my family lost the battle, so my sister offered to leave the tip. Our friend chided her for trying to leave a generous tip: "You're not in a big city here. It's different in small towns"—apparently, in small towns, people tip like cheapskates? Anyone familiar with this rural tradition?

It is good to be home.


thenutfantastic said...

What you should say is that waitstaff in small towns need the big tips even more since, hey, it's not the big city after all.

Is she not familiar with more rural areas being deep into poverty more so than urban areas?

I tip heavy unless the waitstaff was less than austere. Even then they get the measly 15%.

Mona Buonanotte said...

We're generous tippers, even in cow country. Especially if the waitstaff is cuter than a bug's ear!

Bored Housewife said...

Yeah, I actually got tipped way better in my small town than I ever did here in this city. Of course, this ain't no real city...

Glad you had a good time, glad you're back!

thenutfantastic said...

(Psst. Hey, Orange, did your friend give you the Sunday op-eds? I heard they're really good and, of course, I have to pay if I want to read them. You could excerpt or something....)

Orange said...

Yeah, I thought that "we give crappy tips 'round these parts" deal was wack. Thanks for the confirmation, ladies.

Nut, I haven't gotten the Sunday op-eds yet—I expect Frank Rich via e-mail, along with any other juicy columns. My diet is mainly two Krugmans, one Rich, and an occasional Dowd.

T.A.N. said...

I'm pleased with your decision to leave my homepage up.

the downer about being your bloupie are the stories with the hubby and kids. I"m sure they're very nice folk ... but they can't beat a wet t-shirt.

DoctorMama said...

HellBoy earned his nickname in the car. From the time he was two weeks old, he could not stand being in his carseat. Or any carseat, really. We had to gear ourselves up for even a ten-minute trip -- "Did you remember your Xanax and your earplugs?" After witnessing this and finally getting that we weren't exaggerating, my mother-in-law bought him a car DVD player. Yeah, right, we snorted, like that's going to work.

But it was MAGIC. Pop in a Baby Einstein, and we could get in a 25-minute drive, easy. Oh, the freedom! How we welcomed that slack-jawed stare. We have since discovered that it's a zero-sum game -- we can get forty-five minutes of zombiedom total in the day, so we have to spend wisely, but it's a hell of a lot better than ten minutes.

I was going to say something else -- oh yeah! My grandpa was from Minnesota originally, and he tipped for shit. My mom used to sneak back and leave extra. So maybe it's state-specific.

Anonymous said...

I unfortunately have lived in the midwest way too long. I know this b/c I can often identify a farm's animal of choice by the odor as I drive by....hog farms are by far the worst!

I don't know that tipping was at a lower rate in my home town, but there are certainly people I tip now that I know we didn't back home. Hair-dressers come to mind, hotel cleaning staff, anyone other than wait staff in a restaurant actually.