Jim Shahin asks, Why doesn't the government do something useful for a change: caution us against bad traveling mates?
A good friend and I are vacationing together. We've seen each other through a lot over the years - marriage, divorce, birth, illness, dreams achieved, dreams dashed. It's too bad that he will probably end up killing me before this trip is over. Or maybe I'll kill him. It's hard to say, exactly. But somebody is going to kill somebody, that part is pretty much certain.

You see, he is an Itinerarian and I am a Mr. Side Trip Guy. If the government kept statistics on the incidence of death due to travel incompatibility, we'd know for a scientific fact what I've long suspected - that most trips taken together by Itinerarians and Mr. Side Trip Guys end in mutual strangulation, the two of them typically discovered with their hands clenched vicelike around each other's neck amid a chaos of maps.

The reason for this is their different approaches to travel. Itinerarians book hotels weeks in advance, while Mr. Side Trip Guys have no idea what town they may end up in on any given night, let alone which hotel. Itinerarians learn at least a smattering of the language in the countries they visit. Mr. Side Trip Guys adapt to foreign tongues by speaking very slowly and very loudly in their own language.
The difference between the two is so great, and the resulting tension so high, that they may as well be married.

Longtime readers with good memories and nothing better to stuff into their heads may recall these two travel archetypes from a previous column. They are the Bart and Lisa of travel companions - polar opposite personalities who symbolize our existence as separate yet interdependent creatures. Which is to say, prone to homicidal rage when forced to spend extended periods of time with one another in enclosed spaces like cars and hotel rooms.