Dean Clough

January 5, 2024

Portico Darwin: The Do's and (Really) Do Not's of Travel


<3 Minute Read

I hope you're settling into a nice, post-holiday routine, but I'm not ready quite yet.  Instead, I'd like to recount some of the bad and worse behaviors I witnessed during our recent trip to the East Coast.   

Of course I would.

In reality, what follows plagues civil people everywhere, and not just while traveling.  But my trip is a good excuse for a rant, and we indeed saw all of the following on our just-concluded trip.

So with no further ado, it's time for:  Old Man Yells at Cloud, Travel Edition!

Children Should Be Seen and Enjoy Their Journey Not Heard
Do:  Allow your child to develop and express him or herself, while remembering others around you might not enjoy that at high volumes.  And, ask yourself:  Is my child mature enough to go to (fill in the blank)?  You know, like is The Museum of f'ing Modern Art really a great place to spend the day with your toddler?  I recognize the parents might want to go, and they want their child with them, but isn't that just a tad selfish, and inconsiderate of the adults who can legitimately appreciate what they're seeing?  Were it not for your child's meltdown in front of Water Lilies?
Do Not: 
Allow your children to disturb others (much) in public.  Example:  Restaurants are neither gymnasiums nor rumpus rooms, yet in Hoboken, I saw parents allowing their child to stand on the table.  But at least he was screaming, too.   
Notes:  OK, it's not news that I'm no fan of misbehaving young children.  But hasn't there been a real uptick in kids gone wild?  Listen, sonny, back in my day . . . let's just say acting up at a restaurant with these guys - my parent's friends, taken around the time I was a toddler - was not an option.

Fun Fact:  That's my toy chest upon which Wally Clarke is sitting.

Get a Job (You Can Stand)
Try to be professional and have at least a neutral attitude as you serve customers.
Do Not:  Hate me because I'm trying to purchase goods or services from your employer.
Notes:  We had almost uniformly great service on our trip.  But not always and I believe this is the new normal:  not enough staff, and some that are working would rather be influencing on Insta.

Wake Up!  You Are Alive and With Others!
Focus on the task at hand.
Do Not:  Stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk to fool around with your phone; stand in an airplane aisle longer than is absolutely necessary while boarding/deplaning; stop at the entrance/exit to a restroom; stop at the entrance/exit really to anywhere; take an extraordinarily long time ordering - anything; and, in general, forget that others are trying to get on with their lives.  Or at least to their airplane seat.
Notes:  I know, I am impatient.  But also acutely aware that considerate behavior is on the decline.

Not All Furniture is An Ottoman
My God, have some fucking class and keep your feet and shoes off of tables, chairs, couches, etc. unless you're in your own home or have been somehow greenlit.
Do Not:  Make those around you nauseous.

Notes:  I see this all of the time now, and have for years; indeed, the photo above is 16+ years old.  Fun Fact:  the newspaper and its headline are real.  And appropriate.

Headphones are Fun!  And Cheap!
Enjoy the wonders of Chinese manufacturing and advancements in technology, and get yourself a nice pair of headphones to use with your phone while enjoying videos or music in public. 
Do Not:  WTF are you doing?  You're using your phone's speaker? In public?  
Notes:  Great headphones can be purchased for less than $50.  Here, like these - I've had two or three pairs over many years, the sound is fabulous, and they come with the bonus of knowing that I AM NOT DISTURBING THOSE AROUND ME IN PUBLIC.

Bluetooth, with an integrated mic?  Wirecutter suggests these - and they're even cheaper!

I'll Stand By You (Unless We're On a Crowded Sidewalk)
Proudly march side-by-side, hand-in-hand, or even arm-in-arm down the sidewalk, with whomever you please.  Heck, 3 or 4 can even line up.
Do Not:  Do it if continuing to do so means others must walk in the gutter.
Notes:  This is a constant, everywhere.  You know the drill:  you and your partner or friend are walking down the sidewalk, side-by-side.  Others doing the same approach, but they do not briefly break into a single file.   

Or maybe you and your oblivious compatriots are entitled to the whole sidewalk, and I am just a grouchy old man?


10 Seconds of Seriousness:  Don't be selfish, which is at the root of most of my whines above.
Have a great weekend, and wow, is it wonderful to be back in my beloved SF.


Speaking of San Francisco, it is exactly people like Louise Lederhosen that make this place our home.  Of course, it also helps when she flatters me.  Louise was kind enough to send me this brief message after my Boy Becomes a Man post.

I don’t think that I’ve heard this story before.  Very entertaining!!!

Never heard the story before?  Now THERE'S a shocker:  most of mine are on auto-repeat.

And she wasn't the only one.  Pulling herself away from meticulously planning her August wedding, our niece Nicki Vale added this.

Wow did I enjoy this one haha! 

I hope not the jail part.

Next, a major shout-out to Steven Simon, who attended one of the Geddy Lee My Effin' Life book tour shows, where he nabbed me this, the official program.  

It was in the mail when we got home last night - what a very cool thing to do.  As if he and Stacey flying in from Chicago for my 60th party weren't enough . . . and the Neil Peart book, too!

On the same subject, thank you also to Arthur and Mrs. Crup, who gave me Mr. Lee's book for my birthday.  I am in the middle of it and there will be a review soon.  But here's a preview: way, way, way Diamond Certified.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


Civility.  Simplicity.  Those are two good words for this new year, wouldn't you agree? 

If so, here is a great soundtrack.  Released late in 2023, here is new-to-me Matt Berry and his very cool and quite unusual Simplicity.  It is all instrumental, and literally intended to be used in soundtracks by filmmakers.

About Dean Clough