Earlier this week my daughter expressed concern that I was going to be out of town. I asked why and she said, “I don’t like for you being out walking alone in the evening. It’s not safe.” I assured her that I wouldn’t be alone and mentioned my friend Moe would also be in Washington. She said: “Good, then I won’t worry.” The General chimed in that just because the two of us were together didn’t mean we wouldn’t or couldn’t get into trouble. I have no idea what she is talking about and truthfully neither did she, but it kind of boosted my spirits.
How many times have you heard someone’s behavior excused or explained by: “Boys will be boys.” The obvious implication is that mischievous behavior occurs whenever a group of guys get together. Consequently, no one should be surprised when it occurs. I don’t remember when I first met Moe, but it was decades ago. He, too, is an old child welfare worker, but he is significantly younger than I. We both have gray hair.
Truthfully, Moe and I don’t always agree on the concept for a perfect adventure. On rare occasions, I concede and reluctantly go with him, but only rarely. Moe loves professional baseball. We both serve on the board of an organization that regularly meets in Washington D.C. We also share membership in some other professional organizations and regularly find ourselves in the same meetings. If by chance, either of those things finds us in the same city where a professional baseball team is playing, you can rest assured that “boys will be boys” and that Moe will be in attendance. Most often, you won’t find me there. I’m still mostly boycotting baseball.
Fortunately, baseball wasn’t an option for this week’s adventure. Actually, we talked by phone Tuesday night and decided not to meet for dinner. He wasn’t feeling well. He credited his jaunt from Waco to the Austin airport on Tuesday morning as the reason for his case of self-diagnosed cedar fever. He said he felt fine until he got to Austin. Tuesday night in Washington found him combing the shelves of CVS looking for some non-prescription medication that offered relief. Consequently, we decided by phone to meet at the Dupont Metro Station on Wednesday morning and commute together to our meeting.
Tuesday morning I had an anxious moment prior to boarding my SWA flight. As a backdrop to my experience, a couple of weeks ago, Andrea and Kevin returned to Austin from Cancun, Mexico where “boys will be boys” and one of the passengers on their return flight was thrown off the plane in Mexico before the plane departed the terminal. The young man was obviously oblivious (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) to the fact that kids will be kids. Reportedly there were several families who boarded the flight with young children. Kids by nature are noisy. However, when it came to noise, the young man yelling “Enough!” startled both passengers and airline crew alike.
When a flight attendant responded to the incident by making an inquiry related to the inappropriate yelling, the man said loudly enough for all to hear: “If those kids can make noise, so I can I! I can’t take it!” I guess that was code for: “Hello Houston, We’ve Got A Problem”. The flight’s first stop from Cancun was Houston.
The airline attendant told the young man with the booming voice and the other young man who boarded at the last minute and took the seat the man had protectively been saving: “You two need to get your things and get off the airplane.” The man who had arrived late protested saying: “I haven’t done anything wrong.” The flight attendant backed down and said: “You’re right”. Turning again to the man with the booming voice, he was again instructed to: “Get your things and get off the plane.” Finally, there was the verbalized threat of having him physically removed by security personnel if he didn’t comply. It didn’t go down well. Yep, it’s true: “Boys will boys”. Of the two guys traveling together, one flew back to the U.S. and the other was detained in Mexico.
At any rate, Tuesday morning as I was standing in line to board the plane, the gate agent announced that only two carry-on items were permitted. He stressed, “If you have more than two items, you will have to check them. Let me repeat: You can only carry two items on the plane.” I momentarily was in a panic. I had my suitcase and my backpack. I also had the small case containing the bi-pap machine I use to manage sleep apnea. Reportedly, I was told that it could be carried on to a plane without it counting as one of two items. Was that really true? I honestly didn’t know. I held my breath and boarded the plane without difficulty.
When I changed planes in Houston, I also didn’t have a problem. At least no one made reference to my having three items. Subsequently, a passenger boarded the plane carrying a large item wrapped in brown paper that looked like it could be a picture, a large cardboard tube, a backpack and another hand held bag. A flight attendant said to the man: “Didn’t you hear the announcement that you can only carry on two items onto the plane? You will need to check part of your things. The man indignantly protested by saying his items weren’t that large. The flight attendant said: “Size doesn’t matter. It is all about the number, not the size”. He then verbally counted out loud: “One, two, three, four.” He then stated the obvious: “That is more than two. You can only come on this plane with two items.” I actually had the thought that I was going to witness someone thrown off a plane. The passenger was less than civil; however, he did part with his backpack. Of course that left him with three items, but I guess they were being lenient. I once again held my breath: “Would they tell me to check one of my items.” They did not.
The only trouble that Moe and I got into in Washington was on Wednesday night. It had to do with our inability to find the restaurant where we wanted to have dinner. We rode the Metro from our meeting to Dupont Station. Moe said he wanted to leave his things in his hotel room. Consequently, I followed him. I left my backpack in his room as well. We then headed to dinner. Moe suggested we take a taxi, I suggested we should walk. I wasn’t sure where my hotel was located in proximity to the one where Moe was staying, but I’d use my iPhone to find my way to my hotel.
Carefully, we followed the directions on the Google map on my phone. Did I mention it was really cold outside? We had walked for the better part of an hour when Moe made the observation that we were back where we started. True to life, his hotel was visible. How could that be possible? Like the blind leading the blind, we continued to chart our course according to the map and subsequently, did find the restaurant.
Fortunately our luck in returning from dinner was better. We didn’t have that far to walk. In addition, “Ripley’s believe it or not”, my hotel was only a block over from his. My first order of business when I got back to my room was to take a very hot shower. I was chilled to the bone. It was too cold in D.C. to be out walking. What was I thinking?
All My Best!