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Last January, as I blogged about previously, my dad (Wayne) and I traveled to Florida to run The Walt Disney World Marathon and Half-Marathon respectively. We flew out of Minneapolis, where neither of us lived, so we have to do the “get up early and hit the road” thing. We stopped at a Holiday station on the way so I could get a giant coffee and he could get—cookies, I guess. He bought 4 giant cookies in a variety of flavors, offered me half of one, and when I refused, ate them all.

This was strange to me, but I thought, okay, maybe this is the carb-loading that people say you should do before a big race. Maybe it’s not pasta the night before, like I always thought, but cookies, five days before. For the duration of the trip, he just kept on eating cookies. Every day. “I’m going to go get a cookie for breakfast.” He’d say. The day after my race, when I was lying in bed and praying for the sweet release of death (or actually unconciousness)—he brought me a cup full of mini-chocolate chip nibblers that I’m sure were grossly overpriced.

Fast-Forward to this Thanksgiving when the parents came out to Providence to visit me. They would get up early every morning to go for a long walk around my shady neighborhood, then complain later when I took them on walking tours. These moments were all punctuated by my dad eating cookies. There’s a Tim Horton’s down the street from me that Wayne would visit constantly. Every time we’d drive by he’d say “Tim Horton’s, I hkasjlha frequent that place.”

“You do what, Wayne? You’ve gotta frequent that place, or you kind of frequent that place?”

He’d just nod and say “yup.” This happened more than once.

I’d been living next to that Tim Horton’s for three months by that point, and had never gone in. I still haven’t gone in. I’d had Tim Horton’s before, in Canada, and it was fine, usually. There was the one time when I asked the girl for half ‘n’ half for my coffee and she demanded “Half and half what? Half of what? What are you asking me for? I don’t understand you.”

She kept getting more and more agitated, so finally, I just spluttered “Cream.” I guess they don’t do half ‘n’ half in Canada.

She indicated the end of the counter, where it was hiding behind some napkins, and gave me an amazingly dirty look.

I don’t hate Tim Horton’s based upon that experience, even if it may sound like I do, I just don’t need to go there. For coffee-on-the-go, I seek out the state religion of Rhode Island—Dunkin’ Donuts.

When mom and I were working on the finishing touches of paint in my place, Wayne hovered around like an eager puppy, asking over and over if we were hungry, finally just saying, “I’m going to run down to the Tim Horton’s, if you want anything.” We said no, we were fine, but he came back with a bag of six cookies in a variety of flavors. When we finished up, washed our hands, and actually did want a cookie; we found that Wayne had made short work of the ½ dozen. He was quick to offer to go back and get more, though.

He got more cookies, also sandwiches, and the following morning, muffins. While he was on the second cookie run of the day, I finally asked mom, “What is the deal with Wayne and all of the cookies, is he always like this?”

“No, I don’t think so anyway. I think it’s just when he’s on vacation, he thinks he needs to eat cookies all the time.”

She looked thoughtful for a bit, until I finally asked her, “Do you think it’s weird too?”

“Yes, also, it’s not very good for him.”

Then Wayne showed up with 6 more cookies in a variety of flavors, and three sandwiches.

Since moving out here, I had met some truly tiny people; people that don’t clear five feet, but hover around the 4’8” and lower mark. I didn’t realize that people came that short, especially not so many. It seems logical then, that since so many people I’ve met are short, that makes me tall. For the first time in my life I am described more often than not as “tall” rather than “average”, “short”, or in the drunken words of a friend who seeing me without shoes on for the first time “oh, you’re so little!”

 

It’s a strange phenomenon, especially now that I’ve started to accept it, and actually feel tall. I bought some average length jeans instead of short ones, and they don’t drag on the ground (can it be that Old Navy cuts jeans differently according to region? That doesn’t make any sense) I have the attitude of a girl who is above-average height, and I don’t want to let that go. I even quit wearing heels for a time, although that was more because of cobblestones, and it didn’t last. I guess I can never move again unless I go to a place known for short people, and what place is that?

 

Another New England, more specifically Rhode Island quirk, is the notion that everything is so far away. I really wondered about this before coming out here, actually, if smaller size makes trips seem longer. Interestingly enough, one reason that I picked Providence was because if by some chance I didn’t like that city, it’s close to lots of other cool places.

 

My dad and brother often go on male-bonding road trips across chunks of the U.S. They visit historical sights, eat a lot of hamburgers (cookies in my dad’s case, who while on vacation comes to regard cookies as actual food, for reasons unknown. I’m sure there’s a blog about that coming sometime as I find it fascinating and disgusting). It’s something they do and enjoy, and have invited me on more than once, but I refuse to spend so many hours cooped up in the car with them listening to Lynard Skynard, and finding ways to incorporate a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame into every trip. The point is that my brother said that when he and Wayne were on their “New England, Niagra Falls, and Some Canada” road trip, they drove across Rhode Island and it took about an hour and half.

 

In Fargo, I know of people (I do agree this is crazy, but whatever), who would drive to Minneapolis in the morning, shop all day, then drive back at night. 8 hours round trip. People in Providence think Boston is sooooooooo far away (an hour, usually less on the train). When I tell people that I work in Newport, they feel so sorry for me; and the people who live in Newport and the surrounding cities on Aquidneck Island, absolutely cringe in they have to cross the bridge to the mainland. I invited a co-worker to trivia night at a local pub, she said, “That sounds really fun, but it’s all the way in Providence.”

 

“yeah, it’s like 45 minutes.”

“yeah.” She just shrugged. We’ll see if she decides to attend.