This Friday, our 10th grader is going on a field trip. A local museum in London would be nice, right? Or maybe one of the nearby palaces in the suburbs of the city. A bit farther afield, Bath offers some fabulous British history that dates back to Roman times. Any of these options would be memorable. However, they're crossing the English Channel and heading to a whole 'nother country in order to see World War I sights in Belgium.
Back when I was a kid and we had to walk to school, uphill both ways, we were happy as pigs in mud to travel to Houston for the day on a field trip. That was a big deal, traveling over an hour from the school to see the San Jacinto monument or Battleship Texas. If we were headed to the Astroworld theme park, we thought we had died and gone to heaven. We loaded up on the "yellow dogs", which is Texas speak for big yellow buses with no air conditioning or seat belts. Heaven help us when it rained because we just about smothered when the windows had to be put up. I'll never forget winning a UIL journalism event at the regional level in Brenham and getting to attend the state meet in Austin. Do you know how far that is from the Beaumont area? We're talking dog years, folks. By the time we arrived, I felt like I was about to barf after trying to read a book, my only option for on-the-road entertainment, while being bounced around the whole darned day. Of course, this was accompanied by dehydration from all that sweating and a permanently enlarged bladder from "holding it" so I wouldn't tinkle in my pants.
I'm obviously taking my new role as the old fogey generation very seriously because I feel compelled to tell our girls how good they've got it these days. Our teenage daughter will be traveling on one of the school's private coaches to Belgium. They will be able to relax in a reclining seat with folding tray table. It will be air conditioned or heated, as needed, and they will be able to view the scenery through the panoramic UV, non-glare glass windows. If they need to potty, they just trot to the back of the bus and take care of their business. I'm surprised the poor chaperones aren't required to roll a snack and drink trolley down the aisle in case the little darlings need some refreshment on their grueling trip. They will be able to play games on their iPods, update Facebook pages on their cell phones and tweet about how bored they are sitting on the bus. Yes, it's a tough life and they do have to make sacrifices like this on occasion, not entertained for every second of the day. They're rotten, I tell you, with a capital R.
They have no idea what it's like to entertain themselves while trapped in a vehicle. Anybody wanna play a game of I-Spy, State License Plates or Slug Bug?