In keeping with my Monday tradition of not having a Monday tradition here on Cove of solitude, today’s post has pretty much nothing to do with anything.

In case my taste in television and my peculiar introspective post from last week hadn’t clued you in, I’m a pretty unconventional person. Among my idiosyncratic character traits are a passion for games, a love of surprises, and an overall tendency to be eccentric.

These elements all converged the other day as I was packing to return to Los Angeles, texted him my flight info and thanked him for his ridesgiving. For a normal person that would have been the end of things…well actually, a normal person would never have said “ridesgiving” in the first place, but I imagine you’re probably not reading this blog if you don’t have a healthy suspension of disbelief.

Here are the rules of Ridesgiving, as I devised them within five minutes of sending that text:

1) $5.00 price limit: I’m not made of money, besides, the point isn’t to get a real present, it’s simply to find something in the airport. It encourages you to explore and think outside the box.

Unless they have magic beans. That worked out super well for that Jack fellow.

*VascoDaGamer and the Cove of Solitude to not endorse bartering with creepy strangers.

2) Must be obtained within an airport, but not necessarily from a store: For example I considered trying to buy a plush mascot of a restaurant, so your Ridesgiving gift need not be purchased in a store, you could even barter for it if you wanted*! Also, it’s not important which airport you get your gift from, just so long as you get it in an airport at some leg of your travels.

3) You must put some thought into it – This is meant to be a game, so if you’re going to play you should be creative and have fun! Obviously given the other constraints you won’t find something amazing, but if you try you’ll be surprised by what you can find.

I’m sure that over time I’ll figure out where the rules need to be refined further, but from this weekend’s inaugural run, I’d say it was a huge success. Actually, it was suspiciously successful. I mean the first Ridesgiving present was a holographic bookmark. It’s even weirder considering that I was thrown a curveball and my ride was transferred from one friend to another. This meant I had to act quickly to get a Ridesgiving gift suitable for my new ridesgiver, but luckily I am the foremost ridesgifter in the world!

I wish I could take credit for this idea.

In case you hadn't heard, this was their best idea.

Just like Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg, I would have to say that this is the second best idea I’ve ever had. The real brilliance of ridesgiving is that everybody wins! I get a ride and have something to do at the airport. Whoever gives me a ride gets whatever strange thing I can find in the airport, as well as the weird story and whatever explanation accompanies it.

While I’m on the subject of irrelevant travel games, I might as well mention an old favorite of mine from college: tree or tunnel. As I mentioned last week, my family lives in the Philadelphia area. I went to college in Boston, which in the scheme of things isn’t that far away, so flying wasn’t necessary. As a result, and because I find them generally more relaxing, I would take the train to travel back and forth from home and college.

Now when I say that Boston and Philly aren’t that far away, I’m exaggerating slightly as the train ride takes about 5 hours, which gives a TV-centric person such as myself plenty of time to tire of the pleasant scenery. I would often use this time to call a close friend of mine on either end of the commute, though there was one small problem with this time sink. Well, two, to be precise. Trees and tunnels.

The train route between these two cities is peppered with rural areas where phone signal is poor and tunnels which naturally block phones from their precious life-giving cell towers. As the universe is wont to do, it caused these trees and tunnels to consistently cut my conversations at awkward places. So the game, simple as it is, came from the return call, during which my friend not on the

At least they haven't yet forged the ultimate weapon: the tunnel of trees!

Blast, my old nemeses have begun working together! no phone is safe!

train would be encouraged to guess the source of the dropped call, tree or tunnel.

The name of the game took on an extra meaning after sunset, as trees and tunnels both frequently lacked a light source to identify them at night, so unless the moon was full they both looked like inky blackness.

My family used to travel a lot when I was a kid. Well, it seemed like a lot to me, but it was really just once a year and always to the same place: Disney World! Why was it always Disney World? Clearly you’ve never been, it’s the happiest place on earth, you heathen!

But in order to make the trip cost effective for a family of five, it meant making an annual road trip to and from Orlando Florida…from Philly…with a van full of three kids.

Normally this would be a problem with lots of hitting, shouting and threats to turn the van around. But my Dad is an engineer and

My Dad's lifetime mission: to boldly pimp that which has never been pimped before!

Clearly my Dad missed his true calling.

a natural problem solver, especially when it comes to technology. He devised some way to hook up a television a Playstation and two monitors to the van, powered only by the van and we never once ran the battery down too empty. Games were played. Movies were watched. Minds were blown.

To this day I still only partially understand what went into that rig, and while I hope I can some day do crazy magic tricks for my kids like that, I appreciate the fact that it was a very magical memory. My Dad has been doing ridiculous things with technology since before I was born, but it was really the first time I was able to fully appreciate it. I mean, I was playing Playstation in a car! And keep in mind, this was well before vans came equipped with screens and DVD players. My Dad was doing it before it was trendy.

I encourage everybody reading this to try out Ridesgiving the next time they need a ride to or from the airport. Even better, try devising your own celebrations for travel or other everyday occurrences. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments. As for me, I need to set my mind to the next big holiday, Christmas, and of course keeping you guys supplied with your bad TV fix.

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