Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Guilt Trip

It's all my sister's fault.

  Patsy and I spent a week in Tucson enjoying the sun and the company of our mother's youngest sister.  I had a few medical episodes while we were there and made the decision to leave earlier than I had hoped.  I just didn't want to be there alone and  wanted to be close to my own doctor and my favorite  NWM hospital..... funny how we chose our condo downtown to be near the Oak Street Beach and now cherish it because we can walk to the hospital.

On departure day, I actually felt just fine.  At the pool the day before, my sister (a nurse), my friend Martha (a nurse) and my old college roommate ( the mother and grandmother of nurses) had decided that I was to order a wheelchair to meet me on my arrival at Midway Airport.
 They were already mad at me for shunning most of their medical advice, so I went along with it.    I couldn't fake the ordering of the wheelchair, as my sister was with me at Tucson's one-horse, six gate airport. 

Sheepishly, I approached the  agent at the gate and asked if I should order the wheelchair for Midway or have the  attendant do it after take-off.  She said she'd take care of it.  I know she probably thought I was one of those disability scammers who will do anything to board early.  To her credit she didn't betray her suspicion that I was a perfectly healthy senior looking for a free ride.  She couldn't know that I had every intention of cancelling the wheelchair once in flight.  

I fly standby........ and didn't make the flight that my sister was on, but the next non-stop had plenty of empty seats. I buried my head in a book and killed a few hours, At boarding time, I again approached the gate to get my boarding pass.  A new CSA at the counter kindly said "I see you're getting a wheelchair in Chicago.  Do you need one to board? "   I told her I could walk just fine down the jetway and thanked her.   She handed me my boarding pass - in a blue, pre-board authorization sleeve. I tried to protest, but she was on to helping the next customer.

When they called for the pre-board  group, I took a deep breath, said "What the Hell!" and stepped up to join the line of wheelchairs, canes, walkers and a few other scammers like myself.  Okay - the third row window seat was nice.  I admit it.  As I sipped my Bloody Mary ( a travel requisite) I thought of when would be the time to cancel the wheelchair.  I read and slept all the way and we had landed before I knew it.

 I unbuckled, picked up my purse and sat up in anticipation of a long wait while those in front of me retrieved their obnoxiously huge "carry on" items from the overheads.  It didn't happen.  They were all the wheelchair people in front of me and they didn't move.  I was up and out in no time.

 As I thanked the pilot for the smooth landing and stepped off the plane, a young man said,"Mrs. Crawford, my name is Javier and I have your wheelchair."  I gave it another "What the Hell!"  and sat in the chair and leaned back while Javier skillfully maneuvered me up the jetway and into the terminal.  We whizzed past the moving walkways and I looked up guiltily at the  mobs of people walking, pulling bags and waiting in lines. We stopped  only so I could buy a bottle of water (so I'd have tip money).   When we got down to the baggage claim, I told Javier I was okay to get my bag and go.  He leaned in and said, "If I stay with you out to the curb, you can cut the taxi line because of the wheelchair."  You guessed it......"What the Hell!"  Javier grabbed my bag, pushed me to the front of the taxi line and I was home in record time.

I still feel a little guilty when I think about that trip,  but I keep hoping my band of nurses will force me into a wheelchair again the next time I fly. 

"What the Hell!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Just Don't Ask Me.

Don't ask me:                                              
  • If I prefer the pink or the purple
  • What movie I want to see
  • Where I want to go to lunch
  • What time I want to eat
  • Whether I want my bangs a little shorter
  • Who should win DWTS
  • Why I hate to shop
I have spent a lifetime making decisions.

   In the early years it was.... what to wear, who to date, what classes to take, how to solve for "x",  who to support for student council, whether or not to smoke, how to choose real friends, how to get a summer job,  how to pass botany,  what classes to cut, how to sneak out of the dorm, how to sneak stuff into the dorm, who to marry, who to invite, what to wear.

As a wife/mom it was.....what to wear,  how to cook, what to cook, how to stretch a dollar, how to bathe a baby,  how to potty train a kid, how to retrieve a dime a kid has swallowed, how to keep a kid safe, how to safely cross a street with a bunch of kids, who to let ride in the "way back", whether to get a dog, how to potty train a dog, how to keep a dog safe from a bunch of kids, how to fix that
many heads of hair every morning, how to juggle a job and night school and a bunch of teenagers, how to keep a bunch of teenagers from peril, how to keep the family car safe from a bunch of teenagers, how to detect when they: smoked, drank, snuck out of the house,  how to plan and
enjoy all those weddings, what to wear.

As a career person it was.....what to wear, how to relearn to type, how to tell debits from credits,  how to interact with adults in groups, how to get promoted, how to help customers, how to fit in the cooking and cleaning with the day job, when to keep my mouth shut at meetings,  how to express my ideas at meetings, what community groups to support,  how to plan corporate parties and events, how to write strategic plans, how to meet goals, who to mentor, who to promote, how to survive a truly horrid boss, how to drink the kool aid without gagging,  how to fit in at "headquarters",  when to tender my resignation, what to wear.

Now I'm retired.    I know I can wear my keds and khakis and polos and crew necks everyday and it doesn't make a damn bit of difference.  Kids and corporations can make their own way in life.   I am tired of making decisions.  You decide.

Just, don't ask me.