Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – 101 reasons not to go to Big Cities

HodgePodge By Charlie Hodge

Okay, I openly admit to not being a fan of big cities – however on Monday and Tuesday I was reminded of at least a gazillion reasons why folks like I should NOT adventure to Vancouver or any other big city.

Actually a gazillion is a stretch of the imagination. My original plan was to title this little rant column 101 reasons to not go to Vancouver however even that is also an exaggeration. In reality I can only think of about 97 reasons.

Number one is people.

There are simply too many of them in a big city (which is probably why they call them ‘big’ cities). I am not big on crowds – in fact actually a fair bit claustrophobic. (Something I hide well until I am in an elevator or crowded room for too long).

Too many people in too many cars. The only thing worse than too many people is too many people in too many cars with too much attitude and aggression.

I acknowledge that for a mid-size town Kelowna has it’s traffic issues but at least when one is feeling lost here it is not life threatening to ask directions. Do not do that in Vancouver.

I also learned that by the time you read the road sign you have missed the road.

Do not try and use your GPS or Google Maps cause you will miss the road sign.

When you miss the road sign make sure you have a way to cover your license plate in case you wind up on a toll bridge by mistake. That way you do not have to pay twice for a detour you did not mean to take. (Feeling really stupid now).

There are too many hotels in big cities. Especially chain hotels like Best Westerns and other names. If not careful you can wind up at the wrong one.

Some hotels are not that clean, or friendly. Sometimes their pillows really suck even though you paid ‘not suck’ prices for the room.

Sometimes their air conditioner is insanely loud – when it works.

Sometimes their pool (you spent money to make sure they had so you could relax in it) has children’s swim lessons at 8 p.m.

Sometimes their continental breakfast is a dried bun and a box of orange juice.

On the way to and from Vancouver do not get behind a semi-trailer truck cause they go to slow going up the hills on the Coq. It is also a good plan to not get ahead of a semi-trailer cause they go too fast down the hill and wind up riding your butt.

Do not curse and swear when stuck in traffic for more than an hour. You may eventually drive by the tragic car crash that was delaying traffic and realize how lucky you are to not be among those involved.

To avoid the world outside of my car I decided to distract myself while Tez drove part way home. I was about to read this neat looking book titled Lost Souls of Lakewood but I felt like I had read it before so I picked up the magazine on the back seat instead. After all, how can a Canadian boy venture to far wrong by reading the Hockey News.

Of course this month’s version is all about the expansion draft involving the NHL’s newest team the Seattle Kraken.

What a great distraction! What die-hard hockey boy does not fantasize about getting to build their own hockey club from scratch?

The 30 other NHL teams had the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie; or eight skaters and one goalie. All players with a continuing and effective no-move clause had to be protected. All first- and second-year professionals are exempt from selection, as are unsigned draft choices. Other than that and it is a feeding frenzy for the Kraken. They must choose 30 players, one from each team, and must take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies from the lists of unprotected players.

Seattle was picking its club as this column was hitting the presses so I have no idea about their selections. Just for fun and with no real idea about all the rules – here are some of the gems I would snag if I was hoping to make an immediate impact rather than build slowly for the future. I would take goalie Carey Price from Montreal and forward Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis, Tyson Barrie of Edmonton, Doug Hamilton of Calgary, Gabriel Landeskog of Colorado, Bobby Ryan from Detroit, and Max Domi from Columbus. The fantasy list goes on and on.

Complicated as it might be – drafting an NHL team was a lot less stressful than visiting the big city. By the time I was done my hockey list, ‘home sweet (my own pillow) home’ was in sight.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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