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eye seventy-five

The shrinking man

A good indicator I'm losing weight: All my jeans are now fitting loosely. A few pair are a little too loose. Right around my mid-twenties I had to start wearing 38-inch by 30-inch jeans. Before that it was 36x30. I may be going back to 36's if I keep slimming down like I am.

I think the only drawback to losing weight is having to buy new clothes that fit.

The perturbed man

Situation:

  1. My sister's busted car is still in Florida (automatic transmission problems), and needs to be picked up.
  2. The car is about fifteen minutes from my Pop's house.
  3. Pop is still in the nursing center.
  4. I'm the only one who's mobile at this point.
  5. My sister will be arriving Tuesday - at 10:30PM.
  6. I have to drive a half-hour to pick up my sister at the airport, then sixty miles north to Pop's house to deliver my sister.
  7. ..then I have to drive back to Tampa, for a total of almost four hours of driving, and won't be back until about three in the morning.

Did my sister ask me if it was okay to pick her up Tuesday? Yes, but only after she booked the flight, not before. Those are the breaks, I guess.

Why is the flight arriving @ 10:30pm? She picked that. It would have been nice if it arrived at a more reasonable hour, like 6pm or 8pm.. but I didn't get to choose the arrival time.

Why do I have to drive back to Tampa? Well, because I work (duh). All my video and audio editing equipment is here.

So... Tuesday night is going to suck. Big time. A ton of night driving, combined with being tired. Not a good combination. I'll have to deal with it.

The traveling man (notes on night driving)

It does not make you any less of a person if you don't like to drive at night. The longest drive I've ever done was sixteen hours (about 1000 miles), with stops only for bathroom breaks. The drive started in the afternoon and ended at around seven or eight o'clock in the morning. I did it solo. I don't recommend it to anyone. It sucked. While it's true the drive was uneventful, being behind the wheel for that long just isn't smart. In fact, it's dumb. Don't do it. I mean that. Do not do it.

If you ever wondered why you feel so tired after a long drive, it's because your brain is processing information the entire time you're behind the wheel. You're changing lanes periodically, adjusting speed, stopping, starting, turning and so on. It may seem like nothing, but you're actually doing quite a bit.

It's almost too easy to get tunnel vision while night driving. There you are, on the road, late at night, few to no cars on the road, it's pitch black outside, and the highway just seems a whole lot longer. You stare blankly ahead. After a while the tunnel starts. Then all you see are three lines. Left side breakdown lane stripe, right side breakdown lane stripe, and the center dashed lane divider. Drive longer, and those breakdown stripes disappear. Now all you see is the center lane divider. The tunnel gets tighter the longer you drive.

Sound scary? It is.

I avoid the tunnel as much as I can by stopping periodically (for at least fifteen minutes at a time), and by using my GPS to let me know when I'll be arriving wherever it is I'm heading. A super-cool feature of GPS - even on the most basic models - is that when you enter in a destination, the thing tells you what time you'll get there. And it's usually spot-on accurate. By having this, it gives you something to look forward to and keeps your spirits up because you know when you'll be getting to wherever you're going. It also alleviates some boredom, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Even with the precautions I take, I try to avoid night driving when I can. I'd say the only time I don't really mind it is in Tampa, because almost the whole city is lit up like a Christmas tree. Bright lights are everywhere (even on the highway), and it's really easy to get around. However, as soon as you get out of Tampa heading north on the interstate, the lights get fewer, then none at all.

Even so, given the choice between Connecticut (I-95/395) and Florida (I-275/75) interstates, I'd pick FL any day of the week and twice on Sunday. The roads are better, the lanes are wider, and driving with the sunroof open almost any time of the year is just plain awesome.

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