Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Behind Bars

When I go on vacation, generally, being stuck behind bars is not part of the plan, of course, but AF and I spent about an hour in that exact predicament on the second day of our sabbatical to South Florida.

At the desk of our hotel, we learned that parking was definitely not free and that the lot they used was down the street and to the LEFT. Now, one of us heard "right" and one of us was not paying a bit of attention to the directions. We will leave that distinction to the imagination, but anyone who knows the two of us, probably knows which was which.

Day two: Move the car from the prime parking space that was available in the front of our hotel, to go look at cadavers, come back after venturing into the bowels of Miami, Florida, try to find the parking garage our hotel uses.

"Turn here, turn here!" I was only the driver taking directions, so I turned there. The gate to the obviously private garage would not open, and as I was preparing to back out onto the busy street, of course, someone who WAS authorized to use that lot trapped me in from behind. He used his nifty little private gate opener and opened the gate, at which point I was forced to enter the garage and at which point, after his entry into the garage, the gate slammed closed.

We asked the guy how we could get out and his reply was a very friendly, "You can't."

He was cute, we laughed, he did not smile, and we realized we were stuck in a parking garage. He finally told us if we would go sit in front of the gate in our car he would call Security, which he failed to do, and he told us that the security people in that building were "Not nice about this sort of thing."

Finally, sitting in our blue Toyota Corolla with about forty miles logged the odometer, a very comfortable and cute car that we were starting to panic about never getting out of, AF got out and began posing and waving in front of the security cameras, which I am sure caused much laughter and probably people reaching for the nearest firearms, when another resident finally showed up and clicked the gate open so he could enter the garage.

This blessed event caused AF to run to the car and try to get in so I could pull out, but I had the doors locked and could not find the button to unlock them. Thankfully the windows were down and she was able to climb in as I pulled madly out into the street before we were trapped again.

When we called her husband and said, "Guess where we are?" and he replied, "Jail?" we just looked at each other and drove off into the sunset to the parking lot on the LEFT side of the street with no gates and no pesky and nasty security.

Behind bars now has a whole new meaning.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Looking at Fifty

One minute you are wrapped up in a quilt in your living room, drinking hot coffee, wishing for summer, poking at the fire in the fireplace, and the next you are in a sexy Victoria's Secret bra, a gauze island shirt, flip-flops and shorts wrapped up in a Burmese python on a street corner in South Beach Florida.

Life at fifty totally rocks so far!

After a busy day of communing with the cadavers at the Bodies Exhibit in Miami, AF and I boarded a bus for South Beach to have some dinner. It was at the point we began to salivate at the sight of a McDonald's that we realized how little we had consumed in the way of actual, usable calories in three days. Beer at the airport notwithstanding, we had eaten very little.

Standing in line at McDonald's to order Big Macs and Quarter Pounders with Cheese and fries was no easy task. We looked weak and starved, and we looked in the back of the line. Elbowing our way toward the front, really waiting until some mom had to chase her kid and then taking her spot one up in the line became a desperate game, and the food could not get to us soon enough. It was when we had consumed gigantic burgers, Cokes and fries, and AF went back for a second gigantic burger that I realized we were going to have to start eating on that trip.

We strolled Lincoln Mall and shopped at the street vendors' shops and enjoyed the warm, breezy South Florida night. It did not take long for one of us to mention the fact that English did not seem to be the language of choice there and decided to pursue the study of Suskatsusanian, our own private language. We coined terms such as "palm woody," "rundo," "squaro" and our favorite, "whoopsa!" and we spoke it for enough hours that soon we understood each other...and nobody else could. That came to a screeching halt when we ran into the man on the corner with the six-foot long Burmese python that he ceremoniously shoved in our faces. We were talking English pretty quickly after that with such well-known and accepted terms as, "Get that fucking snake out of my face!!"

But after a lesson about the nature of these creatures, we soon had the guy wrapped around our necks and were posing for a couple of fifteen-dollar Polaroid One-Step photos to commemorate our first encounter with what's-his-name.

A few days later, sitting in the relative safety of my own home, I began to ponder the ease with which that animal could have swallowed one of us, especially when he smelled those McDonald's burgers on us. Yikes!

And that was the first day.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New York City by Way of Kansas City

I have a friend, who shall remain anonymous, who decided that in celebration of my fiftieth birthday we should travel to New York City. Never having been there, I am, to say the least, excited about getting this trip underway, even with the threat of noxious gases and bombs in the air.

We leave in a few days, and so this begins the chronicle of our journey. This is Story Number One. How can you tell a trip is going to be eventful? When the person responsible for getting you to your destination tries to route you from your airport in Louisville, Kentucky, to Kansas City, Missouri, to meet her.

Let's do the math, okay? First of all, I have to drive east of where I actually live, ninety miles, to my home airport. East, which is toward New York, and my AF (Anonymous Friend) has to fly from the West, one thousand one hundred and forty six miles west of my airport.

Stay with me here.

So, I drive ninety miles toward the city we are flying to. At first, AF wanted me to meet her in St. Louis. Well, okay, I agreed, even though I was going to go almost three hundred miles backward, small price to pay to meet my best AF for a four-day trip to the Big Apple.

But by the next day, something had happened. I guess because St. Louis and Kansas City are in the same state, she felt that it could not be too much further for me to meet her in KC instead. And her heart was in the right place, God bless it. She decided to fly me eight hundred miles in the wrong direction.

I had to put my foot down. I mean, I love her, and she is going all out to make sure that I remember the commencement of my second half-century of life, but I AM fifty. There are days when it is a bit of a struggle to go outside and get the newspaper, much less fly for ten hours to go a thousand miles. I want the memories to be which of us could spit the furthest off the top of the Empire State Building, you know, real grown-up stuff, not which of us cannot get out of bed because we are so tired from flying.

When I think about this flight plan she mapped out, it makes me wonder if she has maybe been living in her world a little too long. Her brother-in-law wanted me to "drop me off" in New Orleans on my way from Louisville to Albuquerque, New Mexico, once. And I just realized what I need to buy AF for HER birthday! A MAP!

Next installment soon...