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Tag archive for: travel

Manhattan Made

Start spreading the news. I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it …

I grew up in a big city with billboards and litter and bellowing horns. We lived in a concrete jungle with beggars and highways and smog — and we vacationed, naturally, in charming, palm tree-punctuated beach towns.

Now I live in this charming, palm tree-punctuated beach town. It’s lovely — a safe, peaceful, pretty place to raise kids. And yet a part of my urban-bred brain wonders if there’s something missing from the soul of children who don’t know how to hop a subway turnstile or sleep through the blare of constant, distant sirens. Are they too content? Too … untested?

So when the tourists began pouring into Santa Barbara for spring break, I dragged my family to Manhattan for a lesson in culture, congestion, and crabby cabbies. We needed grit, I felt. Too much sustained simplicity makes ya soft in the head.

But could two laid-back pups from paradise really glean value from a week in a city that never sleeps? Could my dyed-in-the-wool country mice ever truly appreciate the bracing bedlam of Gotham?

Most of what the boys knew about New York came from Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”: “Yeah, I’m up at Brooklyn, now I’m down in TriBeCa, right next to De Niro, but I’ll be ‘hood forever. I’m the new Sinatra, and since I made it here, I can make it anywhere …”

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Flock My Life

I have this dog, an Australian shepherd, a herder by nature. He becomes distraught when a family member leaves the room. He leaps up to follow the flock-busting defector, then looks back at the rest of us, unsure of where he’s needed. He winds up spinning in circles, looking profoundly confused, and existentially frustrated.

We laugh at him because it’s sort of pathetic. But he can’t help it; he’s hardwired that way. And for the first time in my life, I understand it.

My 12-year-old left last week on a class trip to Europe. Parents are not invited, phone calls not permitted; it makes the students homesick to hear mom’s voice. Instead, we get daily Twitter posts with photos of the kids in front of French, Italian, and Spanish monuments.

For a year before the trip, friends told me, “You’re brave. I could never let my child do that.” I truly didn’t understand the sentiment. I mean, it’s not like they went to Libya. Frankly, I looked forward to having one less lunch to pack, and to bringing home Thai food for dinner without anyone complaining.

He was gone just one day when friends began calling: “How are you holding up?” Really? The kid isn’t touring the Daiichi nuke plant, I explained; he’s slurping gelato in Florence. How bad could it be?

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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