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Thursday, March 31, 2005

...of mice and men.

Actually, on behalf of pedants everywhere, I'd like to say that what Robert Burns actually wrote was..

"The best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft agley"

But whether plans or schemes, it is not a comfort to me that I'm in the same boat as the mice right now.

I'm not likely to get too many words of advice from them. I mean, just how many mice have tried to organise a world tour of America? Why yes... World Tour of America... well if it's the "world series" of baseball, then I just thought...

Hey, I'm Scottish - I speak all that Robert Burns "gang aft agley" stuff - I've only just started to learn American - give me a break!

Anyway. There I am with my charts, and my maps, and my join-the-dots-with-drawing-pins-and-lengths-of-string to represent the flights zigzagging back and forth across the US... Chicago - Minneapolis - Denver - Atlanta - Houston - Phoenix - Etc - Etc - Etc... (That's Etc CA , Etc PA, and Etc NY, by the way. Yes. I'm also learning now why you have to get into the habit of tagging the state name onto every city name.)

So - I've got this tour beginning to come together like a military exercise.

Except that... yesterday, I encountered a problem that the military never have to contend with....

Labor Day. Labor Day?

Well, since to labor is to work, obviously I assumed that Labor Day would be the day when everyone works really, really hard....

But no.

It's the day when nobody works at all.

We were planning to be in Minneapolis, but it appears that Minneapolis will be closed that day. And since Minneapolis was right at the start of the tour, the whole schedule had be be pushed on and all the dates changed. But it's okay because it was one of the first places I had approached, so at least I didn't have to reschedule a whole lot of engagements, just a whole lot of string and drawing pin flight plans.

But can I just make a suggestion... for the benefit of us poor foreigners who don't speak your language, couldn't you re-name it "Don't Labor Day" or "Stay And Home And Slob About In Bed Day"? That way we might find it easier to get a picture of what really lies in store...

Of course, the whole thing was rendered all the more confusing by the fact that Bouchercon, the convention for mysteries which Le Chef will be attending is described as taking place on Labor Day Weekend.

Well really - Labor Day Weekend? Labor Day Weekend? I'm sorry - isn't that a contradiction in terms? In my country... oh, never mind the semantics. This Labor Day Weekend starts on the Thursday. That makes the weekend longer than the week by my calculation. And then it stops on Sunday - the day before what I later find out is Labor Day. But, wait a minute, if Labor Day isn't part of Labor Day Weekend then how come...

I give up.

"two countries separated by a common language" I'd attribute that quote, but its origin is disputed - some say Oscar Wilde, some say George Bernard Shaw, some say Winston Churchill.

Well, for your interest, if it had been Robert Burns, he'd have said...

"Twa landis teert apairt by ane toung"

So you can see where that leaves me.

Has anyone got an American-Scottish dictionary out there?

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