I’ve been searching for a quote to set the theme for the New Year and I think found it in a fortune cookie I cracked open the other night.
“Never chase a dog into a dead end alley,” it said.
That sounds like the kind of advice that I’ve been ducking for my most of my life, so maybe 2016 is the year I avoid the dead ends.
Of course, I should mention that I got another fortune in the same batch of cookies that said “a panda will enter your life in the near future and you will feed him delicious food.”
That one had me a little confused, but if a traveling panda ever does slide over to Chez Robbo, I hope he brings a bottle of wine.
I’m keeping the resolutions short and simple this year: I’m going to reinforce the good stuff that I should be doing and cut down on the crap that does me harm.
And I’m thinking now that the dog in my fortune cookie can represent anger, fear, and ignorance. And the panda might be a stand-in for love, compassion, and kindness.
I recently chased that dead end dog for quite a while during a dismal detour I took when I was in Honolulu.
Getting lost in a strange city is almost a requirement for travelers and you often make fabulous discoveries that become the highlight of your trip.
However, this diversion was a disaster, a shameless waste of time, energy, money, and sanity. I had set out on my last day in Honolulu to see an antique store that one of my tour guides had highly recommended.
I checked the directions of my smartphone, decided I knew how to get there, and I started walking…and walking…and walking. And I still couldn’t find the place.
No Shirt, Sherlock
Every time I checked my phone I got a different set of directions.
I trudged through some pretty unpleasant terrain where tourists don’t normally go while getting nowhere fast. I was trying to keep the temper in check but that got tougher as time dragged by.
I hiked by a golf course, a public library, and at least one school, but there was no sign of the store. Finally, just as I was about to give up and crawl back to my hotel, I found the goddamn place.
I walked into a building filled with racks and racks of Hawaiian shirts in all sizes and patterns. Cool…only I don’t particularly care for Hawaiian shirts and I certainly wasn’t thrilled at seeing so many. All right…
I gave it a few more minutes and then I split, grabbing a bus at a nearby corner and hunkering down for an endless ride back to my place.
The bus driver promptly made one right turn, drove a short distance, and I saw the entrance to the Honolulu Zoo, which was only five minutes from the hotel.
In other words, I had made a monstrous circle around downtown Honolulu to get to a store that was mere minutes from my crib…only in the opposite direction.
My father, who was always so proud of his “unerring sense of direction,” would have gone berserk if he had witnessed my blatant blundering. I skulked off the bus at the next stop, ran to my room and hid under the bed for several hours.
I’m trying to find some good out of this fiasco, but it’s not easy—except that I must’ve walked off four pounds. The lesson is painful: I took off without properly preparing.
And when I couldn’t find my way, instead of relying on my own instincts, I looked for someone else to do the work—this time it was the GPS on my phone, which is only a machine and incapable of slapping you upside the head and shouting “you’re going the wrong way, dickhead!” Though that could be an interesting app now that I think of it…
Clearly I have to be more self-reliant and replace hope and guesswork with facts and research.
So for 2016, people, remember to avoid following dogs down those dead end alleys and if a panda knocks on your door, for God’s sake give him something to eat.
Happy New Year.