I am afflicted with a Travel Curse. Almost nothing goes right when I set out on a trip of any great length or distance. You may think I’m kidding or exaggerating, but a quick review of the facts proves otherwise.
I have been to three Super Bowls, and had my tickets lost or stolen at two of them – including once with my wife during our 20th anniversary trip and once with a terminally ill close friend. I was in Las Vegas when it snowed there for the first time in 100 years. I once set up a work-related dinner in the desert community of Scottsdale, Arizona that had to be canceled when the restaurant flooded due to excessive rain. I traveled to Florida for a convention and wound up staying in a resort hotel there through what was billed as the “Storm of the Century”.
It is bad enough being stuck with this terrible curse, but I also have to live with having passed it on to at least one of my two children. My oldest son Aaron is taking the problem to new heights, enduring travel-related indignities even I have not experienced. While my younger son Nate has for the most part escaped unscathed, my eldest has a dire travel future in front of him.
Not that his travel past has been all that great. About seven years ago he traveled with his future wife to Arizona (obviously not a good Gouveia state) for a Patriots game and a getaway weekend. They spent the first day hiking and enjoying the sights, and then began preparing for the Sunday afternoon contest. At this point, the curse transcended a generation.
His wife-to-be became ill Saturday evening, and it got worse early Sunday morning. A trip to the local emergency room led to a diagnosis and a warning to relax for a day or two. She would be unable to attend the game, but gamely and commendably urged him to go anyway. Being a gentleman (more so than his dad) he decided to stay with her and simply watch the game on television.
The problem was fans in Arizona are not quite as rabid as those in New England. The game was not sold out, and as a result was blacked out on local television. That meant we here back home could watch the contest, but Aaron – who was within walking distance of the stadium and had two perfectly good tickets – could not even watch it on TV. Irony is a cruel mistress.
Just this weekend my son and his wife went camping in Maine while we watched our young grandson. Early Saturday evening we got a call from the campsite. Aaron had gone swimming in the local lake, but forgotten to remove his car keys from his pocket before diving in. More correctly, he had forgotten to take his wife’s car keys from his pocket. With no dealership open and the local locksmith unable to get the car started, he was now stranded in the woods of Maine with no transportation – and a wife with new ammunition.
Which is how I came to drive four hours each way Saturday evening (and Sunday morning) to drop off his extra set of keys. As I got near the campsite, my GPS advised me it could no longer vouch for the validity of information in this area. I’m surprised there was no natural disaster along the route. But I did it without complaint, because it is obviously my fault.
So you see, even when the Travel Curse attacks him – it still manages to get me too.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and tries really hard not to go too far from Norton. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.