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Traveler Paul

     If you hear the CD player rousting out "Supercalifragilistic" and a husky, energetic male voice shouting out the words in a melodic way, you'll probably see a green and black Starbucks cup in the cupholder of a black Mazda6 whizzing by. Or maybe just sedately driving by. . .

     Traveling with Paul is an Experience never to be equaled. Be ready for dozens of renditions of "Supercalifragilistic" at a high energy level, each one ending with a lusty "Nailed it!" For the sake of sanity, it's absolutely necessary at some point to a) turn off the CD player or b) sneakily press the button that will mercifully start another CD. Variety is the spice of life—for most. Most being mainly me. For Paul, repetition is the spice of life.

     Now if you go for a), you must intervene with a "Let's talk for a while," or, more honestly, "I need a break, Paul." You might be sorry about the "Let's talk," because he will not stop. Talking. And if he were content just to talk, you could relax and listen for hours.

     Sorry. That's not the way it is. He talks; you answer; he talks, you answer. Ad infinitum—or until you turn the CD player back on. Paul loves to remember everything that ever happened to him. "Remember that, Mom?" "Remember that, Mom?" If you don't answer, which is your privilege of course, you get, "Did you hear me?" "Did you hear me?" So finally you say yes you remember and yes you heard him and then he says, "Guess what?" And you say, "I don't know," and he says, "Craig is fun to go to KISS concerts with. Do you know why?"

     Of course you know why; he's told you umpteen times over the past five years. You can either go with a) "No, why?" or b) "Yes." If you go with b) he's going to ask you why again so it's best to say, "Yes, because he lets you wear KISS make-up." And then he'll say, "Guess what else?" And you say, "What?" and he says, "I love you, Mom."

     On long trips, his conversation—when the cruel witch has turned off the CD player—is about the passing scenery, which he finds "Awesome!" or "Beautiful!" Our trip to Borrego Springs last weekend was filled with awesome, beautiful scenery, along with many singings of Supercalifragilistic and his favorite Dr. Altenau song on a Theresa Williams and Larry Campbell CD—Dr. Altenau because the rhythm of the music reminds Paul of his neurosurgeon's way of entering the exam room with a skip in his step and a smile on his face.

     And the memories! From his days in preschool with Miss Davis to the funny stories his dad told him about the aliens coming over the mountains—"Just like those over there!"—Paul talks nonstop, reminiscing—always with the "Remember that?" question that MUST be answered.

     Time for a CD. My choice this time. He's okay with this different CD but when the music starts, his fingers reach out to move the song to his favorite one. He has a favorite on almost every CD and once he has it on, be prepared: you're going to hear it over and over and over and over and over. . . and that's just the beginning unless, out of desperation, you reach over and switch to the "Supercalifragilistic" CD, which by now might sound pretty good.

     "That was a really good trip, Mom." We're home and in spite of the heat of Borrego Springs and the crowds and the restaurants being out of everything so we had to settle for convenience store sandwiches in El Centro for a very late lunch, Paul loved it all.  Except—"We should have stayed overnight. When's our next road trip? Let's stay overnight next time."

     If you're looking for a travel companion. . .

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