Final Word

Posted January 7, 2010 in News

I’ve been on the road for two weeks, traveling the Pacific Northwest, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: I should’ve packed more socks and underwear. Security may stop me at the airport because my feet now officially qualify as an explosive device. And I pity the bomb sniffing German Shepherd who gets a whiff of my boxer shorts. Here are a few other things I’ve noticed . . . 


People who live north of California are way nicer. In Portland, a guy volunteered to carry my empty coffee cups two blocks to a trashcan. In Olympia, Washington, a woman driving 45 miles per hour slammed on her brakes the millisecond I dipped a toe into a crosswalk. Seemingly everywhere I went someone was there with a smile, helpful directions and even spare change when I needed it. Whenever I turned on my car’s signals—get this—other drivers actually slowed down and let me change lanes. And by the time I arrived in Canada, total strangers were practically inviting me into their homes like family, which led me to two epiphanies: One, people from California are complete assholes. Seriously, how do you look at yourselves in the mirror? In 37 years of living here, not a single Californian has ever offered me a stick of chewing gum, let alone carried my trash. And two, if I ever move to the Pacific Northwest I give it a week before I’m totally abusing the kindnesses of the locals, forcing them to loan me money, cradling me in their arms like a big baby, then eventually making me their god/king. I’ll be like that video game character on Grand Theft Auto, punching pedestrians, breaking store windows, getting away with whatever I want. Eventually the town locals will have a secret meeting where it will be decided that the only solution is to have me assassinated (but something painless like a butt load of sleeping pills inside a delicious homemade apple pie, you know, because even though they’re going to kill me they’re still so gosh darn nice).


My mother has no idea how to take a photo. I’d rather hand my camera to a drunken Stevie Wonder on roller skates. To counter my mother’s complete inability to aim, focus or click a camera, my wife and I typically have Mom take 40-50 pictures of every pose. I call it the Law of 10,000 Monkeys at 10,000 Typewriters, assuming that if I have my mother snap enough photos that, by just sheer odds, one photo out of 50 will hopefully be legible enough that a friend will be able to recognize an arm, an ear, hell, even a pair of shoes, then say, “Hey Jeff, is that YOU standing in front of the Space Needle?!”


The Seattle-Tacoma Hilton is a rip-off. I booked a two-night stay for what I thought was a pretty good price, but when my wife and I arrived at the Hilton we discovered there was a $10 upgrade free for a king-sized bed. No problem, I thought, what’s 10 bucks? Also, no free continental breakfast. Again, I figured times are tough, everybody’s cutting back on the English muffins and jelly. But it also costs $13 a day for Internet service in your room and $20 a day to park your car. Not valet service, mind you. To park your own car at the hotel you’re already staying at costs an additional $20 a day. And it’s not like land is at a premium out here near the airport Hilton. We’re staying next to a bunch of runways, a Taco Bell, a KFC, not to mention 20 miles from downtown Seattle. Hotels like the Seattle-Tacoma Hilton should just have two prices: the actual price that includes all of their hidden charges that they’re just going to tack on anyway and the “caveman price” for people who have never heard of the Internet and cars, or, for that matter, breakfast and beds, and aren’t interested in taking advantage of the extra “services” the Hilton provides (i.e. anything invented by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Al Gore). And for just typing “fee” the Hilton has probably just charged me another $10.


Contact Jeff Girod at


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