Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.
Harry, my 90-year old friend, planned a trip from San Diego to London that included stop-overs and a number of connections. He designed it this way because his cardiologist didn’t want him taking any long, direct, flights. After reading Harry’s itinerary I took a nap.
Harry enjoys planning each leg of his trips. Maybe when I’m Harry’s age I’ll enjoy the process too, but for now the only thing I enjoy is being there.
“You don’t mind airport turmoil and chaos?” I asked.
“I love it,” he answered. “I’m a people watcher and airports are the best place for that.”
“You don’t hate connecting planes?”
“Nope. It’s exciting.”
Me? I would rather fly one plane directly to Hell, than have to connect planes to Paradise.
“Don’t you find packing exhausting?”
“What’s to pack? I throw in three pairs of slacks, five shirts, underwear and socks.”
That would explain it. In addition to daytime and evening outfits, I need my creature comforts: jewelry, curling iron, makeup, tweezers, pillow, books, extra shirts for when food lands on my chest — which it always does – and four pairs of shoes: three designer pairs and one orthotic pair for my throbbing bunion.
No matter what airline I select, it’s always furthest from the terminal entrance. And, I’ve never entered and shoved my way down a crowded airplane aisle without resisting the urge to say:
I watched a man’s slacks drop to his ankles as he placed his luggage in an overhead bin. He stood in his tidy whities, casually speaking to the airline hostess, and it was several minutes before he bothered bending over to retrieve his slacks.
I talk to myself when I’m in the air:
I need to pee, but I don’t want to bother anyone. Maybe I can hold it in for another 3,000 miles.
Who told him that arm rest was his?
She’s getting up, again? I have to remove everything from my lap and struggle to stand… again?”
I was once stuck sitting next to a man who weighed over 450 pounds. He was wedged into his seat with two seatbelt extensions stretched tightly across his galactic belly.
I’ve battled weight all my life, so my heart goes out to anyone with an eating disorder. But compassion dissipates when someone the size of a Humvee has you pinned down and held captive. The heat from his gargantuan left arm welded my right arm to my breast. His mammoth hip and thigh rested on mine. My right side went numb.
I couldn’t turn pages of my magazine, and had to eat with my left hand.
I wrote to Continental and requested compensation for having to share my seat with another person. Continental wrote back and said, Thank you for flying Continental.
Today I began planning a Florida vacation, and I’m already hyperventilating. I had to pack a pair of sweats to wear in the pool, because I just discovered that when I wasn’t looking my knees decided to take shelter under a layer of thigh flab. I didn’t see it happening or I would have put a stop to it.
My attempt at making airline reservations was futile. Delta had only one seat available. Continental could get us there at 3:00 AM. United had room in the baggage compartment. Finally, Jet Blue came through but we’ll be traveling on separate planes.
I spent an hour comparing car rental rates. Some offered a $20 bonus for gas. Others offered a $30 coupon for – I never found out what for. One required taking a shuttle to their car pick-up location in a nearby state. I ended up making reservations with three companies, intending to cancel two. I can’t remember which two.
I’m wiped out. I don’t want to wait until my vacation to relax. Bring me a drink with a tiny umbrella. I’ll be in my bathtub.
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