O my God, when GPS and I disagreed about an airport car rental location, thank You for a counter guy, baggage man, and bus lady who showed this cranky traveler way more grace than I deserved. OMG, they reminded me of You, Jesus — You found me when I was REALLY lost.
Thanks to my in-laws, I realize snowbirding isn’t easy. Snowbirds deal with two sets of household worries. Before leaving the Midwest, they must forward mail, stockpile medicines, and empty refrigerators. By law, they cannot desert the state until they eat or give away every single egg.
I only had to stockpile frozen dinners for Hubby — and assure him I would try not to enjoy my work too much.
However, I faced wardrobe complications, digging through mountains of summer clothes for an outfit that fit. Usually I don’t even have to say the word “waistline” until May.
Migration itself proved challenging. At the airport, I, a sixtyish grandma armed only with expired Liquid-Plumr® coupons, was dusted for explosives.
The airline also implemented an aggressive program to increase passenger space. All zone four passengers, including myself, were tossed into compactors that crunched us into pillow-sized rectangles. We fit into the airplane seats, no longer suffering from lack of leg room.
Finally carted from the aircraft, I understood why snowbirds brave Florida migration tribulations. Palm trees, with real green leaves, fluttered a hello. Brilliant flowers abounded. No wonder the Spanish explorers named it “Flowery Land.”
Today, however, they might name it “Trailer Court Country.” Thousands bloom on the Florida landscape. These mobile home parks offer neighborhood lifestyles like no other. Need to borrow a cup of sugar? Simply stick your measuring cup out your window into your neighbor’s kitchen.
Need exercise? Walkers benefit physically and enjoy constant access to neighbors’ favorite episodes of The Andy Griffith Show — at Cape Canaveral sound levels.
I did enjoy the novelty of hearing, “You’re so young!” Throw in fresh seafood, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
Given my schedule, I did not see the ocean. Had I viewed its blue, sparkly waves, I might have, as my hospitable hosts urged, stayed much longer.
Instead, the heat chased us inside, where they turned on air-conditioning. I tried to imagine avoiding torrid Easter temperatures. Seeing Santa in a red tank top.
I envisioned myself in a bathing suit most of the year.
That prospect scared this temporary snowbird back to airport security, zone four passenger compactors, and a flight back to her Midwestern nest.
Are you a snowbird wannabe? Or do you prefer snuggling by the fire?
I appreciate their efforts. But my mother taught me to hang undies on clotheslines behind shirts, not display them to an airport’s entire population.
Some passengers appear comfortable with security procedures. A toddler accompanying Daddy at check-in attempted a striptease.
A young man in a nearby security line entertained a similar viewpoint. Clad only in overalls, he suddenly slid out of them. Grinning as passengers and officials gawked, he ambled through X-ray, wearing skinny shorts he’d concealed underneath.
As if that little surprise weren’t enough, the Weird Wand Committee greeted me for the umpteenth time this year.
Airports never have put me at ease. The hallways always resemble a buffalo stampede. Paying more than air fare for coffee and a muffin made me see red long before Red Level threats ever existed.
However, I can’t escape the worst threat to my security: me. At a newsstand, I heard REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups, like sirens, calling my name. Hypnotized, I answered — then put the candy down, determined not to blow my diet. I bought a newspaper and exited, playing human bumper cars on my way toward Security.
As I searched in my purse for ID and boarding pass, I discovered a REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup!
My evil stomach had bypassed my brain and shoplifted candy.
No alarms sang, rang or buzzed, no lights flashed when I walked out. No steel doors blocked store exits, no iron cages dropped from the ceiling. No soldiers poked bazookas in my back. Where was the FBI? the CIA? Interpol? What kind of security system allows a dangerously unbalanced chocolate/peanut butter klepto to run loose in our nation’s airports?
The peanut butter cup emitted seductive fragrances, and I nearly gave in. But I forced myself back to the store, where I set up surveillance. While the clerk scanned merchandise like a robot, I slithered in and hid behind half-price pink polka-dotted luggage, sneaking candy from my purse. Studying the National Enquirer’s front page (did you know Elvis is one of Donald Trump’s children?), I sneaked the REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup back among its own wicked kind. Then I headed for Security before my degenerate stomach could grab a dozen more.
They haven’t learned how to x-ray consciences yet, have they?
Okay, ’fess up: what’s your least favorite airport story?
June — and flip-flops — have invaded America for the season, appearing in offices, fancy restaurants and even at weddings. But the change in footwear reflects only a tiny fraction of our monumental summer lifestyle shift.
School is out, graduates have flipped tassels, and parents/teachers/students have flip-flopped their schedules. School buses hibernate, and millions of children remain at home to spend quality time with beloved siblings.
College kids also have abandoned books, eight-o’clock classes and the joys of dormitory living to converge on home. All to spend quality time with their parents’ Internet, refrigerators and car keys.
Flip-flopped Fun Time
We empty nesters change our stodgy ways, as relatives and friends — freed from winter’s icy grasp — target travel in all fifty states, particularly those where mooching a free month’s lodging is legal. Especially if we nesters live near the ocean, the mountains or Disney World.
In view of the above, Congress should enact a law that establishes a ceiling on laundry levels, especially beach towels and sheet changes. No wife, mother or hostess should awaken on a sunny morning to find herself a victim of a hostile laundry takeover.
Also, before Congress adjourns for a well-deserved (?) vacation, why not demand laws requiring automatic shut-offs on kitchen ranges from June through August? After all, salad actually tastes yummy during summer. Although in a dietary flip-flop, ice cream does, too.
I vote for ice cream.
And for s’mores. I dislike marshmallows, yet when summer arrives, I admit an urge to bury myself in bear-infested woods, building campfires whereby I roast them (marshmallows, not the bears) and me. I sacrifice delicious chocolate bars and perfectly good graham crackers by slathering them with marshmallows, even feeding s’mores to my grandchildren.
Dastardly grandma crimes of this magnitude committed in February might evoke stern frowns from nutritionally correct parents. But what can they say, when possessed by similar summer madness, they probably buy them deep-fried Oreos at county fairs?
Occasionally, the carefree, “whatever” lifestyle of summer does us in. Maybe we’ve listened to “Good Vibrations” too many times with the car windows down. Sniffed one too many citronella candles. Carried too many pounds of sand in the seats of our bathing suits.
Perhaps months of wearing flip-flops not only have affected our arches, but also our brains.
But isn’t summer worth it?
How will June, July and August flip-flop your life this year?