October 30, 2013


As I travel for work and for play I am grateful for the experiences for many reasons. One of the reasons that I enjoy traveling is because it gives me the opportunity to be reminded that human idiocy is prevalent throughout the United States and is not just isolated to the the area that we call home.

I am sitting in a Panera during a training lunch break. This Panera is much like your standard Panera, with one exception: this one has runners that deliver food to your table instead of having to go retrieve your meal yourself. I haven’t encountered this at Panera before.

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Now gentle readers of my blog will remember previous entries where I have wretched about customer conduct at Panera: screaming children, the inability to review the menu prior to being asked “what would you like today?” and the ever present question as to why french fries are not included on the menu.

Many of these things are present at this Panera, nearly 3000 miles from our home Panera:

1. There is a child screaming at the top of its lungs. The mother is indifferent to the noise aside from giving the child a very large chocolate chip cookie, because logic would dictate that the child must need more sugar, right?

2. The large family in line in front of me debated the contents of each menu entry after getting to the register. They then wanted to review the baked goods case before making a selection. They did this while alternating between English and Spanish amongst themselves and then, after paying for their transaction, the grandmother asked the cashier, in Spanish, if she spoke Spanish (honestly, the cashier looked like Rosario from “Will and Grace”) and when the cashier responded to the affirmative, they had a conversation about the virtues of speaking Spanish.

3. The screaming child is now standing on the pop dispenser counter and pushing on the pop spigot trigger thingees. Mom is adjusting her makeup.

It is reassuring, in a way, to realize that dumb people everywhere and not just confined to the Mohawk Valley. It helps keep things in perspective for me.

There has also been no requests for French Fries. This makes me happy. To keep this all in perspective, I remember that “this is water”.

San Clemente, California.

So I have been in San Clemente, California since Sunday night. I am here for a training class for work and I am learning lots of nifty things. The class is a mix of in-person and online students. Luckily the teacher is also here in San Clemente. I am looking forward to using these learned skills in the next big project at work.

San Clemente is a beautiful city. I’ve driven through here on Interstate 5, the last time was way back in 1998, but I’ve never spent anytime in San Clemente. I have enjoyed walking the downtown area streets and I have also enjoyed the Pier and the Beach.

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Last night I ate at the Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar on the Pier. Alex was a very friendly waiter and the food was delicious.

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Tonight I ate at a downtown restaurant at Nick’s San Clemente. My server was Nicki. She was very sweet.

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At both dining experiences, neither Alex nor Nicki made me feel uncomfortable in any way because I was dining alone. I opted not to sit at the bar at either restaurant and just went with my own table. I enjoyed the people watching.

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After dinner I walked off the slight beer buzz I had going on and ended up walking about five miles as I made my way around the downtown area. I feel very comfortable here with the mix of different people here. I am looking forward to coming back here on vacation. We have put it on the bucket list.

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This very large seagull asked me to tell the seagulls that fly around the Jeep back home at lunch time, “we don’t need handouts from Burger King”. He then flew off in search of fish.

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All in all it’s been a lovely trip. Tomorrow I head to San Diego for the night so I can catch an early plane on Thursday.