Crazy Old Ladies

I’ll start with my favorite old lady joke.

Jane and Regina went out for a drive, Regina at the wheel. The day was clear and bright, the traffic was practically non-existent. They were tooling along as they came to an intersection with a bright red traffic light shining right at them. Regina tooled on through without a pause. Jane thought this a bit odd.

At the next intersection with another glowing red light, Regina didn’t hesitate for a second. She just cruised on through. Again, Jane thought this a tad on the odd side as Regina was usually a law-abiding kind of person.

When Regina sailed through the next red light, Jane finally spoke up. “Regina, honey, why the hell are you running all these red lights?”

Regina turned to her and said, “Was I driving?”

Well, that’s what I ask myself much of the time. Was I driving? Am I in charge of anything? And does anyone know I’m here?

My sister Chris and I recently went to Florida for the wedding of my younger sister Martha’s stepdaughter. Since the security crack-down resulting from 9/11, we now fly under assumed names. We assumed them at birth. We were named Jane Christine and Regina Penelope by our parents. No one calls us Jane and Regina.

Martha, Penny and Chris

The wedding was on Memorial Day weekend and flights that suited our timing needs, were non-stop, and weren’t exorbitant landed us with Spirit Airlines.

Spirit Airlines offers a number of fine amenities. It has reserved seats in which you can sit up very straight without crossing (or even moving) your legs for the entire flight just as mother used to encourage – for a price. If you care to travel with more than a toothbrush and change of undies, you can carry-on or check your baggage – for another price. Most of all, you can, and are encouraged to, make all transactions on their very fine website. No need for pesky interactions with other humans.

Well, we started our adventure by trying to purchase tickets on-line. This was not to be and here was the first pesky interaction I had to make. The answer to why I was unable to purchase tickets on the website was, ‘So sorry the website isn’t working properly today. I’ll be glad to sell you tickets for $5 more than the advertised price on-line.’ I didn’t quibble. I bought the tickets.

Second pesky interaction. A few days later, we decided to take one suitcase and check it, this being quite a bit cheaper that carrying on two bags. Nope. Could not do that on-line either. The nice woman told me the price. It was a few more dollars than the on-line price, so I questioned her a bit abruptly. She offered, ever so graciously, to give me the on-line number because the website was being updated and wasn’t working properly. I was getting the picture.

Third pesky interaction. I decided that we had better purchase seats. Our luck with Spirit hadn’t been too good so far and we did want to sit down while in flight. You guessed it. The website was still being tweaked and, no, I would not care to pay more than the advertised price.

The next convenience for our flying pleasure was the joy of self-tagging our luggage. It couldn’t be easier. We just go to the kiosk, print out the tag and drop tagged bag at baggage drop-off. Well, of course there was a fairly long line for the kiosk. Then a longer line for baggage drop-off and when we finally got there, the attendant needed to see our IDs and tickets and then she weighed the bag. So why had we tagged it ourselves? Because if we hadn’t, we would be charged if the attendant had done it.

In the past five years Chris and I have flown Delta and have been TSA pre-checked. We were not this year, meaning we had to go through the regular security line. We were x-rayed or whatever that weird machine does when you put your feet on the feet spots and hold your hands up in the air. And then we were both patted down. Clearly, we looked a bit sinister.

Luckily the flight was uneventful. We landed on time and had a good weekend. I got to visit with my sister, Martha, her husband, Roy, and my great-niece, Madeline. The wedding was lovely. We visited the Dali Museum which is certainly worth seeing. Martha chauffeured us around and generally took care of us.

One quick word about Florida drivers – there are evidently only two kinds. About 2% of them seem to be perplexed as to whether they have actually left their driveway. They move along in a bemused sort of way and annoy all other drivers on the road. The other 98% (of which Martha is one) apparently believe that they have actually taken the on-ramp to the Indy Speedway and just realized that if they don’t step on it they will never catch up to the pack. Our trips to and from the airport were a lot like Mrs. Toad’s Wild Ride. Chris and I were put in the back seat and told to ‘Shut up and READ A BOOK!’. Speed aside, Martha is a good driver and I appreciate all she did for us last weekend.

Finally, we started home and we must have looked equally sinister because once again we were x-rayed and patted down. At least, I was – sort of. By the end of the weekend my left knee was telling me in no uncertain terms that it was not a happy camper. I limped through security, planted my feet and raised my arms once again, and was told to wait for my pat down. The woman looked at me (a fairly bedraggled specimen at that point) and asked if I were in pain. I mentioned my knee. She patted one hip briefly and moved me along. My Kindle, forgotten by mistake in my purse’s zipper compartment, also made it through without detection in spite of the dire warnings from the official about leaving such items hidden in one’s bag. I’m beginning to wonder just how efficacious all this screening is.

We made it home in one piece. I drove us from the airport in the dark and I stopped for every light whether I needed to or not. Just kidding. I’m pretty sure I knew I was driving.

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