Last month I heard author David Sedaris speak. I found out he and I have a few things in common, such as a propensity to wear bow ties, and to clean up street litter in our neighbourhoods. There some notable differences between us, including his fondness for culottes, and that he makes two million dollars a year more than I do. In his chat, David bemoaned being criticised for focusing on “the bad stuff”. He rightly pointed out that it isn’t a matter of focus, but simply that the bad stuff is much funnier. There’s nothing funny about, say, a wedding that comes off without a hitch, except that unfortunate pun.
Like many of you, in the past year I’ve been enjoying more of “the share economy”. I’ve dabbled with Uber, although not enough to have much to say about it, except that anything that keeps me out of a taxi can’t be all bad. (Stayed tuned.) I’ve had a dozen AirBNB experiences now, enough to give me the confidence to reach all sorts of poorly founded conclusions, and make dubious recommendations with overly broad generalisations based on scant anecdotal evidence. This is the very heart and soul of travel writing.
So here goes. Continue reading 05. A Bad Review
Months ago, not long after I was advised of my mother’s death – I think it was about twenty seconds – I did a rough calculation of the dollar amount I stood to inherit. Scottish heritage, don’t you know. It wasn’t a huge amount, nevertheless it was a something of a windfall since her mother lived to the age of a gazillion. Gramma left her estate nearly penniless, having squandered her dwindling fortune on life. I had expected nothing more or less from Mom.
After Mom’s funeral, I was feeling flush, as well as grateful to the friend who had put us up for several days. In thanks, I offered to buy him and his extended family dinner at a local restaurant named Brine on State Street in Newburyport. We sat down and started ordering “flights” of geographically diverse oysters. Even those from Long Island Sound were tasty and did not kill us. Yet, anyway.
A lovely time was had by all, the food was great, the service better. The check came to eight hundred dollars, which is quite reasonable for seven people at a fancy restaurant. Nevertheless, it represented a couple percent of my inheritance. Realizing that if I did this fifty more times, well, “poof”, Ma might as well have lived another twenty years, I reviewed the bill carefully.
I had spent over four hundred dollars on oysters. Continue reading 15. Inspiring Victoria