What I Did on My Summer Vacation… Part one of eighty billion


September 20, 2013 by rebelwithalabelmaker

We’ll start at the beginning…  Trip #1 was to the Canadian Unitarian Council national gathering.  Mick generously offered to drive there with me, which is good because he is all about the logistics*, and someone has to be.
Mick:  So, when is the conference exactly, so I can book travel?
Me:  The Victoria Day weekend.
Mick:  What date is that?
Me:  You guys don’t have Victoria day?
Mick:  [Long rant about something to do with how we need to get the Queen off our dollar bill**]
Me:  So, you’re telling me you don’t even know any of our holidays?  That’s unreasonable.  I know when your Independent Day Holiday is.  If you’re going to be truly multicultural, you should learn when our Victoria Day is.
Mick:  So, you’re saying you don’t know when it is either.  I’ll go look it up.
The conference was in Calgary, which is seven hour drive west of Saskatoon.  Four and a half, if Mick is driving.  I taught the boys how to brace for impact on command.
Unitarians, just to catch you up, are best described as a “multi faith religious group”, kind of.  We generally form Churches, but they’re very diverse–including Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Christians, Pagans, and lots more.  We don’t have a set of beliefs, but we do affirm and promote seven principles, which you can skim quickly:
  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
So, off we head to be all Unitarian-ey.  We had good intentions.  We lost an average of one principle per hour.
Me:  Kids, this is a great opportunity to learn about other cultures.  You see how Mick drives differently, because he comes from another country.  In some cultures, you drive on the other side of the road.
Mick:  I was passing a truck.
Me:  Right.  In Canada, we usually wait until there is no oncoming traffic to do that, but whatever…
Mick:  Stop criticizing my driving.
Me:  I wasn’t criticizing, I was honouring our cultural diversity.  Also, did you know that miles and kilometres are not the same?
The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
I was a little worried that the boys would be anxious with all the bickering, but they were rapt with attention.  When they weren’t bracing.
Me (checking my smartphone):  Hey!  There is a post here on Facebook about how your driving is not that bad!  Do you understand that posting to Facebook while driving kind of proves my point?
Mick:  We were at the rest stop when I posted that.
Me:  What did you mean by “Ironically, at about the halfway point on my Canadian road trip, I have changed my views on gun control 180 degrees”… ?
Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.
That said, it was fun to share the Great Canadian Road Trip experience with Mick.  It differs in a few subtle ways from the Great American Road Trip experience.
Mick:  Oh look, it says a “point of interest” is coming up.
Me:  Um, that means a different thing in our culture.  You are thinking Grand Canyon.  We are thinking a wheat field and a plaque.
Eric:  Also a garbage can.  There’s usually a garbage can.
Mick:  But I want to stop and take pictures at some point.
Me:  We’ll take pictures at Alsask.
Mick:  But there’s a beautiful sunset right now.
Me:  The sun will still be setting when we get to Alsask.  It’s only a couple of hours away.  No stopping yet.
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process…
The tourism highlight of to the drive to Calgary is definitely Alsask.  We counted sixteen signs counting down to it.  I hyped it up thoroughly, counting down with the children, who intuitively understood the joke.
Me:  Okay, you can pull over now.
Mick:  I thought we were going to wait for the city of Alsask.
Me:  This is it.
Mick:  Where?
Me:  That house over there.  I’m pretty sure the guy who makes road signs lives in it.
Me:  Technically, I didn’t say it would be interesting.  I said it would be the tourism highlight of the drive.  This is an accurate statement.
Eric:  There’s also all the dinosaurs in Drumheller.  It’s a great learning exp–
Me:  –Inh.  They’re not even real dinosaurs.
So, we pulled over and took a picture (Note:  Sun still setting)…
mick giving finger to liz
Mick:  You didn’t take a picture of me giving you the finger, did you?
Me:  Can’t talk now, posting to Facebook.
Mick:  Wait, are you posting from my phone?
The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Me:  You aren’t even using it.  You are supposed to be paying attention to your driving.  Besides, everyone on Facebook has  said they could tell it wasn’t even you talking within the first three words of your status update.
Mick:  How long have you been posting from my phone?
(At this point, the boys started debating about whether people have to be married first in order to get a divorce.  I explained that in Mick’s country, gay people don’t all have the right to get married, and Mick said that he was having trouble remembering why he even wants that right in the first place).
We did get there in one piece.  Gary rushed out to meet us at the hotel, relieved to see that we were in one piece.  When he asked how the trip was, of course, there was much complaining.  “Bickering the whole time”  “Always asking how much further”  “At one point, there was hitting.  I had to remind Mom that it is not safe to whack someone on the head while he is driving.  She said it was an accident.”
My kids are so whiney.
* “About the Logistics” means he got our oil changed before we left.  Also, he updated our plates, and made a really big deal about how they were expired which is kind of melodramatic because they had been expired for months and nothing bad had happened.
**The Queen is not on our dollar bill.  We don’t have a dollar bill, we have a coin which is, I kid you not, called “The Loonie”.  The Queen is on that.  The only bill that the Queen is on is our twenty.  Our twenty also features topless women.  True story.

4 thoughts on “What I Did on My Summer Vacation… Part one of eighty billion

  1. as always, thanks for the giggle.

  2. Debra Thorne says:

    Wonderful! Hugely funny. Especially as I can hear your voices so clearly!

  3. […] James jettisons the seven UU principles on a summer road trip with a seminary colleague. (Rebel with a Label Maker, September […]

  4. irrevspeckay says:

    Yes, this is the post that I had read that brought your blog to my attention, so that when you shared its name, I recognized it. So glad to have your real self in my world knowledge, rather than the just the virtual version.

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