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On the road

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I’m traveling now, writing this on a laptop in my hotel room. As with most trips, it’s been a series of unfamiliar places and faces, but I enjoyed a bit of familiarity last night.

After driving for six or seven hours – pretty much my limit these days – I checked into a motel. Once settled, I headed downstairs to the restaurant for a sandwich. The restaurant itself was open only on weekends, but the bar had a good menu. I could smell the burgers and noted that they had a local beer on tap, so I pulled up a stool and sampled both.

Business was typical mid-week slow, and I shared the bar with only one other couple and a handful of truckers. I’m not an eavesdropper, but while enjoying the burger and the brew – both excellent – I couldn’t help overhearing the couple’s conversation. The topic seemed to be a discussion of the purchase of a saw. My interest piqued, I strained to tune out the truckers and other extraneous bar noise, imagining my right ear stretching out cartoon-style to better hear what they were talking about.

Best I could figure out was that he, or the two of them together, ran a small cabinet shop. He wanted what he referred to as “something bigger,” and at least once that I could make out mentioned a Unisaw. The old radio talk show host in me wanted to jump right in and start chatting them up, offering them the benefit of my vast wisdom regarding woodworking machinery. Certainly, introducing myself as the famous “Over the Workbench” blogger would impress them – or it might prompt them to call the local police who, I’m sure, were just as excellent as the local food.

Instead, I concentrated on my dinner and tried (more or less) to mind my own business. From their conversation, it was clear that they both knew a lot about woodworking; these weren’t just a couple weekend hobbyists. By the time they left shortly thereafter, it seemed clear that they were indeed going to spring for that saw. Not sure why, but that pleased me.

Traveling, even on short trips, can make you feel disconnected. At least, it always does me. However, overhearing a discussion between woodworkers last night, even without being part of the conversation, made me feel a bit more connected to home.

I’m betting that traveling salesmen never experience that.

Till next time,


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