WDP — Tattoos

What tattoo do you want and where would you put it?

I have chosen to not have any tattoos (or piercings) on my body, so to answer today’s questions, I don’t want a tattoo. Thus, where I would put it is moot.

As to my decision to not have a tattoo, I have no regrets. Or maybe I should say I have no regerts.

WDP — Cross-Country Trip

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, car, or bike?

Been there, done that. I’ve flown across the country countless times, driven in a car at least a dozen times, ridden on a motorcycle twice, and taken a train twice. What I’ve never done is made a cross-country trek in a bus or on a bicycle.

When I was still working, most of my cross-country trips were via airplanes because time was of the essence. But since I retired, I haven’t set foot in an airplane and don’t plan to. I’m too old to think about biking across the country and I have no interest in taking a cross country bus trip. And even sitting in a car for five to eight hours a day doesn’t sound very appealing anymore.

And then there’s the train. A few years back, I had to go to Boston for personal reasons and decided, since I didn’t have any time constraints, that I was going to take a train from San Francisco to Boston instead.

Of course, there is no train that goes directly from San Francisco to Boston. But there is one that goes from San Francisco to Chicago, the California Zephyr. It runs daily from Emeryville/San Francisco to Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, across the Rockies to Denver, and through the plains of Nebraska to Chicago.

That trip takes just north of 51 hours, so I booked something called a “roomette,” which is essentially a small, cubicle-sized room that converts to a sleeper at night. The accommodations also included three meals a day in a dining car and priority access to what they called a scenic-view lounge car.

From Chicago To Boston, I booked the Lake Shore Limited. From Chicago, it heads through South Bend, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Albany before arriving in Boston 19 hours later.

There was a lot I liked about my cross-country train experience:

  • The scenery along the California–Nevada border (the Sierra Nevada Mountains) and on the Utah to Denver leg (the Rocky Mountains) was spectacular.
  • The other passengers were very friendly. Seating in the dining car was “family-style,” and, as a person traveling alone, I was seated with three other travelers each time. I met some very nice people.
  • Most of the passengers along the San Francisco to Chicago leg were vacationers, either old-timers like me, or families traveling with kids.
  • Most of the passengers along the Chicago to Boston leg were kids going home for the weekend from college, a number of Amish families for some reason, or business people. Fewer families, fewer oldies than on the other train.

I only have two gripes about my cross-country train adventure. First, the trains don’t run on time. The train from San Francisco arrived in Chicago 5 1/2 hours late. The train bound for Boston left Chicago 35 minutes late and arrived in Boston 3 1/2 hours late.

My second gripe is that Amtrak’s funding has been cut way back, so most of the train cars are older and, while they are generally in good repair, they could use some sprucing up. (Duct tape holding certain parts together in the sleeping rooms and rest rooms is a dead giveaway.)

So, back to the question of the day. If I were going on a cross-country trip and time to get to the destination was not a factor, I would definitely take the train again.

WDP — Confidence Level

How would you rate your confidence level?

With respect to what? Am I confident that by summer I’ll be able to walk normally and have full range of motion in my right shoulder after I finish my physical therapy? Yes, highly confident.

Am I confident that the Democrats will keep control of the White House, the U.S. Senate, and regain control of the House of Representatives in 2024? No, not confident at all.

Am I confident that, in the event the Republicans do take control of the White House and Congress, democracy in America will survive another four years. No, not at all.

Am I confident that anything will ever be done about the proliferation of guns and mass shootings? About restoring a woman’s right to manage her own reproductive healthcare? About gender equally? About improved race relations? About a reduction in hate crimes and domestic political violence? No, no, no, no, and no.

Am I confident that, if we humans don’t get serious about climate change by the end of this decade, human life on Earth will survive through the end of this century? Fuhgeddaboudit.

My bottom line is that I’m highly confident about personal things that are reasonably within my control, and not at all confident about any those big societal and political issues I’ve mentioned being resolved. And, for what it’s worth, I’m fairly confident that I probably won’t still be alive twenty years from now.

So in the long run, none of these things will matter anyway. At least not to me. Thus, the question about my confidence level is irrelevant.

WDP — Anxiety Inducing

What makes you most anxious?

Right-wing politicians at the federal, state, and local levels, MAGA supporters, QAnon followers, book banners, radical pro-lifers, white supremacists, racists, Christian nationalist, antisemites, and those who would allow democracy in America to fail in order to make way for an autocratic, fascist, Christian fundamentalist theocracy, the Supreme Court, right-wing judges, Fox News, white-washers of history, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, gun nuts, Bible thumpers, far-right and well-armed militia groups, and the beat goes on.

I’m not going to name names, but you know who I’m talking about.

WDP — Losing One’s Self

What activities do you lose yourself in?

It doesn’t really matter where I am or what’s going on around me. I may be reading my newsfeed. Or maybe I’m looking to buy something on Amazon and I’m reading product reviews. I’m watching a video on YouTube. I’m reading a book on my Kindle app. I’m playing solitaire. Catching up on the March Madness scores. Whatever it may be, my eyes are focused on the screen of my iPhone and my mind is absorbed by whatever it is that I’m looking at.

But it’s when I’m on WordPress that I am fully lost to the world. Thinking about what to write. Planning, drafting, and refining my posts. Reading the posts — some masterpieces, some crap — from other bloggers, leaving comments, leaving likes. That is the activity I truly lose myself in.

Image credit: Midjourney text to art AI app.