Intro to "Trip in a Car Through the Desert" (or, "Driving Across the Arabian Peninsula Like a Merriwether")

When you are a diplomat and your are posted in "hard" countries (i.e. no Wal-Marts or JoAnne's Fabric stores), you are supposed to get "R&Rs," or "rest & relaxation/recooperation/Rummy." An R&R is a some-expenses-paid vacation to somewhere where they have JoAnne's Fabric stores, so that you can go inside and inhale the smell of old American ladies and cinnamon sticks. But you don't have to go somewhere nice and civilized. If you are so inclined, you may use the airfare to go somewhere with angry naked people with body piercings running around everywhere, like Paris.

2007: "Aw yeah, suckah. I'm gonna drive across Arabia in seven years."
As an aside, while I was making fun of JoAnne's Fabric, I was reminded of when I got my first job. I was 16, and I worked at Craft Warehouse. It was all a horrible misunderstanding. When I applied I believed it was Kraft Warehouse, and I pictured myself pushing swaying stacks of Kraft dinner boxes around and, oops, accidentally dropping and damaging some boxes and taking them home, or else, oops, just cutting to the chase and accidentally cooking me up a pot of macaroni right there on the warehouse floor. Instead, I worked at the counter beside Flo, this really wrinkly lady who must've used to eat cigarettes way back when she was in her 60s, because she rasped like Kim Carnes and sometimes when she was just talking a little smoke would waft out between her lips, and I was like, "Flo, I think your uvula might have somehow ignited." And she'd say something like, "Hon," (except not in a southern-type voice; it was more like how Catherine the Great would sound if you dug her up and she called you "Hon"), "don't you worry about my uvula." She also wore neon pink lipstick, which I frankly quite liked because it drew attention away from her smoldering uvula.

Back to R&Rs. We are preparing to use one of our R&Rs to drive across the Arabian Peninsula, because I like to transect things, and also because it's not very often that you're on the Arabian Peninsula, so you might as well scope it out while you're there, much like Lewis & Clark, who thought that if you live in North America you might as well scope it out, although they were weaker than I am, because they had to hire people to help them scope, while the only aid I need in my scoping is my phone -- just that and me monocular.

As I consider Lewis & Clark, I feel that if I could only have two more sons, I would name them Merriwether and Perriwinkle. They probably wouldn't be very popular in high school, but they would be good at drama.

All great voyages need a name, and this voyage -- 1,500 miles across sand and rock with four children and one wife (who hates to "just sit") in an aged Suburban with an iffy transmission -- is truly great, like a dane, but without those weird jowels. So I will call our voyage "Trip in a Car Through the Desert," and I will blog about it when we get back.