Selected Excerpts from Chapter 6 - Irma is Bored

We visited Irmaís world years ago when we could still travel. My daughters were young and we had read the Little House on the Prairie books together as a family. We arranged for a large number of people to care for Reid, climbed into the mini-van and headed off for a two week trip to see the Midwest and visit the home towns of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It turned into a large loop around Iowa. Years later, that trip to the dull world that my imaginary Irma didnít appreciate was one of the highlights of our lives. We stood on a rise in the center of fields that stretched to the horizon and felt the steady prairie wind. We visited the various, and sometimes campy, tourist sights in the middle of large stretches of farmland. We ate at the one diner in towns, relishing every meal, and writing extensively about it in our trip journals. The dull rural world of Irma was so compelling to us that, more than 15 years later, we remember it vividly and longingly.


My work takes me to Annapolis on a regular basis, which is very convenient because Annapolis is my favorite city of all I have visited. Even though I am regularly in Annapolis and am very familiar with the area, Diane and I decided to play tourist on our anniversary overnight that I mentioned earlier. We asked the concierge at the hotel, and the tour guide at the visitor bureau, for recommendations. We were so into our role as out of town visitors that we returned to our hotel room with enough tourist information to turn our overnight into a monthís visit. By not being too proud to play the tourist, we came away with a wealth of good tips.


I am notorious for not being able to remember names. It has gotten me into trouble many times, although I felt much better after hearing a co-worker relate how he forgot his wifeís name one evening. When we first moved onto our street, I was nervous talking to the neighbors because I wasnít sure if I should know their names or not. I managed to hold conversations without using names but I found I was avoiding talking to people in case I had to pull their name out of my broken memory banks. Since being neighborly was important to me, I devised a simple solution. I downloaded a map of our street and added street addresses. I then looked up each house and wrote down the people who lived there. Although it took a few hours, it was time well spent. It helped me solidify in my mind who lived where and what their names were. I was able to greet people by name and feel comfortable engaging them in conversation without fear of losing their name mid-sentence.

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