Several months ago Brunette and her enjoyably much maligned husband, Blonde’s brother-in-law, bought a condo in San Marco, Florida. This would provide a place where Brunette could go to escape Pennsylvania winters and her husband. (He was only informed of the first part of that value proposition.)
After spending two weeks there with his bride the hubby/b-i-l had flown home the previous day to return to work. Blonde was on the first flight to Florida the following morning.
Brunette has long liked Florida and Blonde has not. Brunette likes the weather and the water and Blonde says you can get those perks in places that aren’t so full of old geezers. But now that she has a free place to stay, Blonde’s opinion of Florida had been improving as temperatures dropped in Boston.
Upon arriving at the gate at Logan airport in Boston Blonde suddenly felt like a teenager- and not an old teenager either- we’re talking 15 max!. Everyone was (or so it was important to believe) significantly older and covered the full range of options between good-for-their-age to advanced, visible decay. From full mental competency to crabby to unreasonable to daft. Hearing abilities also ran the gamut of possibilities as, apparently, did male bladder control.
One of the advantages of having a blog, other than overnight wealth and fame, is that things that previously would have merely been annoying are now seen as golden nuggets of blog material. The trip to Florida wasn’t a nugget – it was more like a boulder.
As Blonde got to the gate area prior to the flight she made her customary trip to the ladies’ room. In front of the entrance a man and his wife stood with a cute, small dog wearing a vest with a patch that read “service animal”. Blonde never saw a service animal of this breed or size much less with people who didn’t appear to be blind or in other obvious need of animal services. Whatever.
Upon exiting the ladies room Blonde observed someone else patting the dog ( a horrifying breach of service animal protocol) and inquiring as to the services offered by the canine helper. The man explained that the dog calms him.
WTF?? Why does he need the dog and a wife? How about some pharmaceuticals? How anxious is this old bugger? How does the dog feel about his job?
The inquiring patting stranger exits and the wife makes a very mild comment to the effect that perhaps she, hubby and doggy move somewhere out of the way of the entrance to the ladies’ room. The man’s face becomes instantly stormy and he barks (get it, he barks, not the dog, never mind) “trigger words” and begins to furiously pat the dog as it presumably exerts its calming influence and Blonde briskly walks away.
New players. A very well dressed, tall, elderly man- probably pushing 80 with a very short stick – and his equally chic wife walk into the waiting area. As they walk past Blonde she hears a loud meow from one of the carriers the man is carrying. He has two cats, each in its own carrier and informs Blonde that one is his and the other belongs to his wife. Good to know.
This man is a Boston type – someone who was probably an executive at some investment house for many years and never had to consider the possibility that he wouldn’t get what he wanted when he wanted it. He now informs his wife that they will board the flight. Boarding hasn’t begun but he tells his wife (loudly) that they will be able to board now as they have cats.
The agent boarding the flight disabuses the man of this belief and says he has to wait his turn as the approximately 70% of the flight boarding in wheelchairs gets priority over the cats.
The wheelchair parade commences. Cat Man gets in line with the wheelchairs only to be denied boarding once again. He is now exasperated, loud and petulant and very much in the needs of the calming canine who is nowhere to be seen. Is this Noah’s Ark for the wacky or what? (Yes, it is, will save you the suspense.)
Boarding, not surprisingly takes forever as everyone wheels, dodders and bumbles to their seats. Blonde is in the bulkhead exit row on the aisle. When she enters there is already a woman in the window seat. The woman has a large paper grocery bag on the floor in front of her. It has an orange and yellowish shiny bag on the top of its contents.
Nothing can be on the floor in this row during takeoff and landing as one of the flight attendants informs the woman who responds that she has permission. The flight attendant looks highly skeptical but is quickly informed by a presumably more senior attendant not to mess with the situation. The bag owner tells the recently appeared middle seat woman that this bag contains a supply of Reese’s Pieces and, therefore, cannot be moved. Well that makes perfect sense as Blonde’s iPad is forced into solitary confinement for take off due to the flight risk it represents as compared to say, 10 pounds of Reese’s Pieces.
Takeoff finally commences, the cats turn out to be in the row behind Blonde and begin to meow with an intensity that sounds like Chris Christy stepped on their tails with his full weight. Middle seat lady, who is reading The New Yorker, announces loudly that the cats will meow for the duration of the trip. She is very afraid of cats. Many people who travel are allergic to cats and airplanes should set up “dander-free zones” for airborne animals.
Reese’s Pieces lady indicates solidarity re the dander-free zone and deftly changes the subject to the recent widening of a road in Florida. The way things are going this actually seems to make sense to Blonde. Then Reese’s Pieces Lady announces “and they even put a sign on it”!
New Yorker Lady proclaims no awareness of said highway or what is meant by the sign comment. She is informed that signs are routinely absent on roads in Florida so this is an inside joke of sorts. New Yorker Lady appears to be uninterested, bordering on scornful, and states that she packs her car and ships it to Florida. This also appears to be seen as a valid conversational segue as well as a declaration of superior social standing.
As the plane gains altitude and passengers are still required to be buckled in their seats three old codgers, each in direct defiance of the orders, lurches to the bathroom. And each one presses a hand on his presumably enlarged prostate region and announces “I gotta go” while ignoring the crew’s protestations.
Blonde wants to start selling FloMax to the male passengers. Countless television commercials have assured Blonde that FloMax will improve the gentlemen’s “streams”, making them less frequent and more productive when they do occur. Alas, Blonde lacks a stash of FloMax so this potentially lucrative scheme can not be implemented.
Yet another elderly man very loudly asks the flight attendant how to watch the TV in the back of the seat in front of him. Upon being informed that he may use his own headphones or purchase some for $2 he becomes belligerent over the stupidity of this requirement. He bellows that he has a hearing aid (then turn the damned thing on and quit screaming!) so how can he put headphones in his ears too?!
This particular flight attendant appeared to be in training and hadn’t had the hearing aids versus headphones dilemma covered yet in his studies. He tries to console the man by explaining that the headphones go over, not in, your ears. The man then states that this is not relevant as his hearing aids are attached to the back of his glasses and are not in his ears. Huh? What was this entire issue about then? Wife shushes man and flight attendant admirably maintains composure while scurrying away.
Blonde’s astounding ability to sleep through anything while airborne mercifully kicks in although random boisterous snippets of disconnected conversations occasionally disturb her slumber.
The flight is smooth and aeronautically uneventful on a day with clear skies. As the plane lands the passengers erupt in prolonged and forceful clapping as if the pilot has miraculously guided us through a hailstorm of enemy fire as lightning and wind violently attacked the plane.
Blonde exits and, as per instructions on a voice mail message, calls to let the driver from the car service know that she has arrived. His phone is off so she places a message and also texts him the requested information then stands at the curb to await his arrival.
Minutes later a youngish man driving a Cadillac pulls up, gets out and with a strong Russian accent asks if Blonde is someone whose name seems to be “Graham”. She is not. The man does not believe this as “Graham” is purportedly wearing a pink T-shirt as Blonde is (not). Blonde attempts to make the distinction between purple and pink as if this is the real issue but is mercifully rescued when her driver appears.
Blonde settles into her seat and begins to check her email and respond to her legions of admirers (or perhaps it was to send snarky messages to her sister and friends). The driver inquires if Blonde is texting. Rather than bother to differentiate texting from emailing she answers in the affirmative. This results in being aggressively informed that “texting is the stupidest thing ever invented”.
Blonde knows enough about men to realize what this means is that this man doesn’t know how to text. She adroitly changes the subject to other ways people impair their driving (as this seems to be the issue with texting although Blonde clearly isn’t driving). Alcohol is mentioned as another serious risk to driving safety.
The driver proclaims that his “multi-millionaire” brother smokes extensive quantities of marijuana without his driving abilities being compromised. Blonde doubts this. Before she can go into one of the pointless arguments she is easily drawn into Blonde is now informed that “marijuana is like Prohibition. Once “they” figured out how to tax alcohol it was no longer immoral to drink it”. Hence the recent random states legalizing pot for medicinal uses is also purely an outgrowth of wanting more tax revenue.
Blonde (OK, she has been pulled into a pointless argument) says that if marijuana is for medicinal uses she doesn’t think it would be taxed. The driver views Blonde’s position on the topic as idiotic.
Brunette has been texting (so stupid!) Blonde inquiring as to her proximity. Blonde texts back that she is arguing with the driver about charging tax on marijuana purchases. Brunette replies with confusion and alarm as to why her sister is purchasing pot from the driver.
The driver misses the turn to Brunette’s new abode and informs Blonde that she “made him miss the turn” because she distracted him by talking (who started this moronic conversation?).
The clunky old Lincoln Town Car finally arrives and Blonde practically leaps into the arms of startled Brunette who is still puzzling about her sister’s newly acquired marijuana habit and the tax implications of said habit. Blonde feigns cursory interest in the new abode but is only truly interested in the bottle of (taxable, hence moral) wine beckoning to her from the counter.
And so it begins…….