Pet Peeves

by Mark D. Crantz

I went screaming and kicking. My wife made me go on vacation with her. My 43-year record of being a homebody was shattered. Only one good thing came from being shanghaied. I made it back to restart the ‘I don’t-go-anywhere policy.’ I’ll be 110 years old when I break my existing homebody record. And when I do, we’ll celebrate…at home, of course. I’m not going anywhere, ever again.

My wife had the best of intentions. She wanted to broaden my horizons. Give me an opportunity to learn new things. Experience life to its fullest. So, she planned a trip to Italy and Spain. Before we left, she put me through a simple orientation. She taught me Italian and Spanish phrases that I might use. “Hello…police. My name is Crantz. I’ve been robbed at (choose and insert location of mishap—train station, airport, hotel room, streets).

I felt better prepared. My wife continued my indoctrination on the plane ride to Naples. “Now listen up,” she instructed. “Naples is known for pickpockets. Don’t make eye contact. Watch your wallet. And put your passport in a secret body cavity.” I gulped. “Which secret body cavity?” My wife answered, “You pick. And don’t tell me where. Just in case the street thugs torture me to find out.”

Europe is a strange land. The first thing I saw getting off the plane were Italian travelers, who bubble-wrap their luggage to outfox the pickpocket guys. I adopted this local custom. My wife bubble-wrapped me, along with my carry-on. I no longer had to watch my wallet, put my passport in a secret body cavity, or avert eye contact. I couldn’t see a thing. I appeared now as just one bigger carry-on taking care of a smaller carry-on. I even overheard several fellow passenger comments. “Look. Self-driving luggage. I got to get one of those.” Whew…travelling incognito. Now I could enjoy this long overdue vacation.

I didn’t see much. It was hazy through the bubble-wrap. So, I took a lot of pictures that I’ll look at when I get back home. For readers never shanghaied by loved ones, here are the differences in the big outside world. Venice is like Laguna, but different. They’re car-centric, too. But Venetians decided to flood the streets to drown all the cars. Now Venice is pedestrian friendly. Rome is like Laguna, but different. Rome has ruins everywhere. Laguna doesn’t. We’re luckier. Laguna has Design Review. Barcelona is like Laguna, but different. Barcelona has hundreds of roundabouts. Laguna has just one. Barcelona roundabouts have statues, plants and whimsical art that have sucked up a lot of tax dollars. The Laguna roundabout is taxpayer friendlier. It has a diameter, a radius and no tax maintenance.

Well…that’s it readers. I’m now back safe and as unsound as ever.


Crantz tells the Indy that his vacation pictures didn’t turn out. All 526 pictures were that of a bubble-wrapped mummy. Weird, huh?




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