Posted by Jeanne Adams Mar 9 2011, 5:01 am in airports, Jeanne Adams, travel
This weekend, I was at the RWA Board meeting in Austin, Texas. Now, this isn’t the topic of my blog and if you’re interested in what we did, grab a look at the RWA Hot Sheet on the website.
No, what I want to talk about is travel. Yes. Travel. We’re all thinking about it, I know…..Going to conferences, RWA National included, or thinking longingly of Easter/Passover visiting, Spring Break or summer vacations ahead.
Are you flying?
Now don’t wince. This isn’t a diatribe about flying either.
I love to fly. Really. I do.
I do NOT love to go through security, but I’m fairly tolerant of all the nutso rules and regs. I’ve mailed my beloved Swiss Army Knife home to myself at least three times, thrown away perfectly good bottles of water, Diet Coke, Milk, etc. right at the gate of security, let them confiscate my nail polish (a gorgeous OPI color too!) when the no-liquids rule first went into effect, and all that insane stuff.
I love that instant when the wheels lift off the ground and you can feel the almost weightlessness of the airplane. *shiver* It’s fabulous. Or the solid bump-soft-shudder-bump-shhhhhh of a great landing. Excellent.
What I’m not fond of? All alcohol and caffeinated drinks on a five-hour flight and no food. (Can you say “belligerent passengers”?) Running through Atlanta’s airport. That is one airport you just CANNOT run through. The floors are too slick, the train too slow. Impossible.
Memphis ain’t real fun either, as I can attest from this weekend!
However, airline employees, the REAL ones on the front lines, are great. Lorry W, with Delta, made sure that I would have a second connection already ready and waiting if my connection missed in Memphis, so I could get home. Brenda, Mary and Barb, all Delta flight attendants, were cordial, good humored, and sincerely helpful, even to the guy who insisted on taking off his shoes (no socks on, folks. Ugh!) and who gestured at them and demanded yet one more gin and tonic, with his unlit and quite chewed-upon cigar. Double-ugh.
My cousin is a flight attendant. Some of the stories she can tell would curly your hair if it were straight and straighten it to board straight if it were curly. She also tells wonderful stories of meeting Phyllis Dillar (the life of the show, even on board an aircraft), and other celebrities, most of whom behaved beautifully. Grins. It’s a hard job, being a service person on an airline, who really is there to protect you. They serve as “staff” but their real job is to be there, be on the front line, when there’s a problem. To handle it, to keep people safe, to make sure everyone gets off alive.
Daunting thought, especially when faced with a whole planeful of drunk or over-caffienated, over-salted, tired, cranky, “I’m-sitting-next-to-a-screaming-toddler-who’s-mother-is-sleeping one-row-up” people. They pat and soothe and get stern, and issue alerts and warning and somehow balance that frickin’ heavy cart in high winds down the center of the aisle and still manage to pour coffee without spilling it.
Hurrah, for flight attendants! Grins.
Then there’s the weird shops in airports, like the Braves Shop in Atlanta – hey ya’ll, the Season opens in 3 weeks! Go BRAVES!!!
And the weird souvenirs that come with travel. I’m always fascinated with the stuffed armadillos in Texas, the giant guitars in Memphis, the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks mania in O’Hare, and New York’s Rolex clocks.
So tell me your travel stories, good and bad.
What do you HAVE to have with you when you travel? Pillow? Eye mask? Magazines?
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in an airport? (For me, it’s a chiropracter adjusting his girlfriend on the floor of the waiting area)
What’s the strangest thing you’ve carried home on an airplane?
Ever gotten through security with your Swiss Army knife?
Strangest thing you ever brought home for the family as a souvenier.
OH!! And if you’re traveling – or even if you’re not! – pick up a copy of this month’s Cosmopolitan Magazine! An excerpt from my Deadly Little Secrets is featured as the RED HOT READ for April!
Posted by Cassondra Murray May 21 2010, 7:00 am in Aging, airports, Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, older heroines, travel
by Cassondra Murray
When I was a little girl, my older male cousins and brothers used to joke about that. We’d see a wrecked car with its front end all smooshed into the engine compartment, being towed by a wrecker or on the back of a truck . It trundled by and we’d stare and wonder what happened and hope the people were all okay, and then one of my cousins would say, “that’s not gonna buff out.”
No amount of time with a rotary buffer would make that wreck better.
“That’s not gonna buff out,” has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
No, I did not have a motor vehicle accident. *knocks on wood* All our cars are fine.
This has more to do with my recent travel experiences, and…..well….my angst.
I’ve been traveling a lot in the past three months. In fact, I pretty much just leave my suitcase out, and switch out the clothes depending on where I’m going and what I’ll be doing. Dry cleaning comes out of the suitcase, goes to the cleaners, then comes home and goes right back into the suitcase, still in its wrinkle-reducing plastic bags. And off I go again.
Once upon a time I could “travel light.” I live about an hour north of Nashville, Tennessee, and when I worked down there I had one medium-size shoulder tote in which I packed the essentials. A change of underwear, my makeup, some aspirin and a few other things for emergencies. A toothbrush. If I got stuck down there unexpectedly, as long as I had this bag I could stay overnight anywhere and function just fine the next day, in pretty much any circumstance. I could attend all but the dressiest events with what I had on “yesterday” and what was in that bag, assuming I had a place to sleep and a place to shower.
I carried this bag with me everywhere I went. I never got on the road, when I commuted sixty miles per day to work, without it. If I went on a weekend trip I had only to supplement what was in the bag with an extra pair of jeans and top, and I was good to go. I could even look rather glam with what I could pull out of this bag if I needed to do so.
Alas, things have changed.
Because I’m flying so much now, I’ve been making a valiant effort to use only carry-on luggage. Thus far I have failed. I have yet to take a trip without checking a bag.
The plain, sad truth is that now, it appears I cannot survive by traveling light.
I need too many lotions, creams and gels.
And there, Bandits and Buddies, is the problem.
In case some of you have not tried to board a commercial aircraft in the past few years, let me explain. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has implemented certain rules. And believe me, having a husband who knows a bit about explosives, I completely understand the reasoning behind these rules, and I support them. They are there to keep us safe. I have no problem with that. High Fives to those officers slaving away behind the x-ray machines at airport security. If they had tip-jars, I would be tossing in dollars.
But one of these rules is a limit–a severe limit–on the number of lotions, creams and gels an individual may carry onto an aircraft. You’re only allowed to carry on the amount which will fit into one–yes that’s right, I said ONE–quart-size zip-loc baggie. And no container may c
ontain (or be sized to contain) more than 3.4 oz of any lotion, cream, or gel.
How the heck am I supposed to groom myself with one zip-loc baggie full of products?
When I was 20, yes, I could do this. Gimme a bar of Ivory soap and a some decent shampoo, and I was good to go.
But I am not 20. We will leave that point right there.
Not so long ago I had this moment of realization. I got up that morning and staggered toward the bathroom. I paused only to glare at the coffee maker and curse a little– because it had not yet begun its pre-programmed gurgle-steam-hiss routine–before I stumbled through the bathroom door and up to the mirror. I put in my contacts. I brushed my teeth. I slid out the drawer filled with my expensive lotions, creams and gels, the cost of which would subsidize a small third-world country for a month. I cleansed, exfoliated, tourmaline-primed, power-lifted and firmed, toned, then moisturized all the appropriate areas. I leaned into the mirror. I looked at the lines near the corners of my (no longer 20-year-old) eyes, and a thought rolled through my mind.
That’s not gonna buff out.
I can pour all the pennies I want into the fountain of youth, and those lines are not going away. But still. I have seen me with, and without, my lotions, creams and gels. And I know that I don’t NEED them, but…I need them. If I stop using them, people start asking me if I’ve been sick.
I now officially qualify as high-maintenance.
If I don’t have my particular shampoo, conditioner and styling products, my hair looks like…well…hell. If I don’t have moisturizing body wash, my skin gets so dry it itches. If I don’t have my skin-care products, within about four long days and nights of on-the-road stress, my skin revolts and I start to look like that car being towed behind the wrecker…sort of smashed in.
So what’s a girl to do?
I mean honestly? I know those lines are never going to buff out, but without my lotions, creams and gels I could star in Return of Medusa. It is not pretty.
And the kicker is that every time I turn around somebody is aiming a camera at me. GAH!
Now for you very Zen folks and the activists out there, I do realize that nothing in this blog will solve world hunger or bring about world peace. I’m not that shallow.
But I’m plenty shallow enough to want my lotions, creams and gels with me wherever I go.
I recently sent off $50 to some online container store in an attempt to get eensy teensy containers, which, when filled with all of my potions, would still fit into one quart-size zip-loc baggie which, by decree, must zip closed easily.
And I have determined that this is impossible. Not because I need large quantities of any one of them (except shampoo–I have a lot of hair), but because I need small amounts of so darn many of them.
And you know what? There is some subtle prejudice against being high-maintenance. There is a cool-factor to being able to travel light and not need all these products to maintain ones-self, and I used to buy into that cool factor, but now, for entirely selfish reasons, I question this. For the past while now, I’ve been noticing a prejudice against the high-maintenance woman, even in the books I read. And (hangs head in shame) it’s crept into my own writing.
For the past two or three years, I’ve tended to write older heroines. When I first start a manuscript, I give them an age based on their wisdom and knowledge of the world. The way the “feel” to me as a character. Then as I assess the story, I back away and think, “that’s too old. Nobody wants to read about a heroine that age. No editor will buy a heroine that age.” So I start to make her younger. And younger. Aaaaand younger. If she’s over 30, I figure she’s too old.
The heroine in almost any novel I read now is neither older nor high-maintenance. She can travel light. She can get caught in a power outage or a hurricane, stay overnight at the hero’s house unexpectedly, and still look ravishing. With absolutely no lotions, creams or gels. And absolutely no flaw anywhere which will not buff out.
But back here in my harsh-lighted and mirrored world—there’s contact lens solution. It comes in “TSA-approved” size, 4-ounce bottles. There’s even a teensy little plane on the label. Newsflash for the manufacturer–the size limit has been reduced to 3.4 ounces. Nothing like being frisked and questioned in the security line and having your Opti-Free Express confiscated before you can board an aircraft.
So tell me, Bandits and Buddies? Do you have suggestions?
Are you high-maintenance? Or can you live with ivory soap and a toothbrush in the outback with the wolves and mountain lions and be happy?
Do you require a lot of lotions, creams and gels?
If you’re older than 20, has the number of potions you need to work your magic increased?
Can you travel with only carry-on luggage? Or are you forced to check a bag (and pay the fee to do so) on each trip you take?
Have you found any shortcuts or secrets to traveling light without looking all smooshed-in?
I could use some ideas if you’re willing to share.
And even more important–what about the books you read? Are there ever older heroines in those books? How do you feel about them? If you’re under 25, can you still relate? If you’re older, can you relate to the under-30 heroine?
And for the guys lurking out there, do you find that you’re more high-maintenance as you grow older?