"I can't help the way I look."
"You always get that look when you read one of Bryson's books."
I had just finished his book about driving to the small towns of America. "Wouldn't you like to go visit the small towns of the US?"
"We've done that." In 2001, we sold our house and mounted bicycles determined to cross the US. We only got to Minneapolis. At that point, it became apparent that we weren't going to be able to keep riding 30 miles a day from B&B to B&B. The hot tub outlook west of Minneapolis was pretty bleak, so we rode along Lake Superior and celebrated the Independence Day in a small town called Bayfield.
"It was a great experience," I said.
"My butt still hurts."
"Well I didn't think we'd go by bicycle this time. Think of all the good times we'd have."
"As I recall, I stopped talking to you for all of Ohio."
"Well, the rain won't affect us so much in the car."
"As far as I can tell from that book, all Bryson ever did was drive to a town, find a seedy motel and watch reruns on TV. How many reruns can one person watch?"
"Well, we wouldn't do that. He went to a bunch of interesting places."
"He went to places to stand in line and either got bored with the line or upset about the price. Then he went back to the motel and watched TV. He just did it in different places. He could have been in Iceland for all the difference it made."
"But he was funny."
"OK. I've always wanted to see California. Let's fly to California."
"Oh, no, we need a gimmick."
"Yeah, like unicycling along the Lewis and Clark Trail or visiting all the former Bob's Big Boy restaurants."
"Can't we just go see the ocean?"
"Not enough oomph."
"You could walk along the Appalachian Trail."
"Ride a boat across country?"
"Well, going around the country, getting bored and watching TV is already taken, so I guess I'm willing as long as it's got to be different."
"Cool. Maybe we can just go places and I can be funny."
"Sorry. That's already taken."