On a personal note, my heartfelt thanks to all who sent kind compliments about yesterday’s post, “Of course you can’t. But if you could…”. Apparently it struck a chord with many of you, and I’m grateful that you took the time to say so.
With Ukraine in the news this week, so is its capital. I must’ve been busy in 1995 when the romanized (non-Cyrillic) expression of the city’s name got changed. Maybe I was asleep in 2018 when the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a campaign to make that change stick.
As far back as I can remember, it’s been Kiev. Now, as I understand it, we’re supposed to call it Kyiv.
It’s a thing. When I was in grade school our textbooks included lessons about the culture of Moslems. These days the same people are called Muslims. We studied Bombay, Peking and Ceylon. Now they’re Mumbai, Beijing and Sri Lanka.
(Gin, duck and tea notwithstanding.)
Growing up in Stark County, Ohio, I thought it was pretty cool that the highest peak in North America was named Mount McKinley after the 25th President of the United States, who made his home in nearby Canton (and who was married in the church I attended as a kid). By the time I graduated from high school the state of Alaska was calling the mountain Denali, and seven years ago the feds were, too.
Then there’s Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cape Kennedy and back to Cape Canaveral — all in a span of ten years. And don’t get me started on stadiums and mascots.
Some gymnastics of language can be chalked up to transliteration, kind of a combination of Scrabble and Battleship. Some of it is cultural. The rest is nothing but appeasement and political correctness, which chaps my ass.
Look, I live in a country where we don’t even pronounce Paris and Versailles with linguistic integrity. Until we get that sorted out, I’ll call it like I learned it — Kiev.
We’ve been away from The Mountain for five days now. Neither of us is happy about that, but being encased in ice since Wednesday has made venturing out less than appealing. We managed to knock out some minor chores here, anyway.
Next week’s weather looks almost perfect. I expect we’ll travel east again no later than Monday.
Last night Deb made an interesting observation. She pointed out that in four days of being cooped up inside the bus — which despite being 40 feet long isn’t as roomy as you might think — our self-imposed isolation hadn’t resulted in any “fussing.”
We get along.
For anyone who’s thinking about undertaking an odyssey like ours, that’s something to consider. Having the right partner isn’t just important — it’s absolutely crucial.
Deb and I have been living this life for the better part of 11 months. In that time we’ve spent maybe a dozen hours completely apart — seriously. See, in most RVs (Ernie included) there’s really nowhere to “get away,” especially when weather turns unpleasant. That’ll test a relationship.
I wouldn’t suggest taking a partnership that hasn’t already been battle-tested on a journey like this, however. Deb and I have been through some hellish times over the last 17 years. We’ve even worked together in the same small shop. Our experience gave us a firm foundation for what we’re doing now.
This way of living (I hesitate to call it a “lifestyle”) exposes flaws and magnifies incompatibility. Being practiced at working through the inevitable upsets is the only way to keep a holiday from becoming a death march.
Again — and I can’t emphasize this enough — if your relationship depends on each partner having “personal space” and “alone time,” think twice about setting off across America in an RV.
The good news, at least for Deb and me, is that the nature of our relationship is easy, accommodating and compatible. We approach life the same way, enjoy the same things and have similar tolerances for a whole range of circumstances (both good and bad).
And we we actually like each other.
With all that going for us, we’re free to embrace the inescapable joys of our crazy American Life. There’s nothing quite like it.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.