Communiqués from Geezerville: Travel Beyond the Local Haunts
Corie Skolnick’s latest Communiqués From Geezerville “Travel Beyond the Local Haunts” takes us on the road with her during these chaotic, (somewhat-)post-COVID times.
Geezers have been on the road these past few weeks. Just the two of us.
First, a quick note to the lovely man in Greenwich Village who had just checked out his 40-minute Citi Bike and spent the first 20 minutes of it educating us as to all things Citi Bike-related. (Who might imagine that there’s quite a trick to getting those two-wheeled suckers out of their little bike stands?) You, kind sir, are obviously not yet a geezer yourself, but I could see that look in your eye. The unmistakable look that told me with complete certainty that when you looked at us you could see clearly that one day you will be a geezer, and you could also see that the day may come when you might need assistance with some new geegaw or some kind of technology that baffles you, and so you chose to deposit a little something-something into your karma account, all to our benefit.
Or maybe you saw in us—two total, and totally perplexed, strangers—something that reminded you of your own mom and pop, and perhaps you thought that if they were struggling on a public street looking dimwitted you’d definitely want some nice young man to offer them a little assistance without scorn or haste. You even rode up the block to check on the other station to see if there weren’t perhaps some of those fancy new e-bikes. (Alas, there were none, but I did so appreciate your effort.) Please do tell your mama that she raised a good and kind man and she should be proud of herself, and of you, too.
P.S. I know because you said so that you were on your way to work in Midtown, so I hope you got to work on time, and I also hope that you are fully aware that you are a very natty dresser. The epitome of business casual chic, albeit on a bicycle with a dorky helmet. That said, on behalf of your mother, I wholeheartedly endorse the implementation of appropriate head protection, especially on the streets of New York City.
Next, to Taneika at the JetBlue “help” counter in John F. Kennedy International Airport. Man, what a night you must have had, Taneika, honey. I read about how the Friday you “helped” us was the beginning of a three-day stretch of over five thousand cancelled flights. I think you showed admirable restraint as Thursday turned into Friday and all those angry people standing in line to try to re-schedule and/or get a hotel room nearby took their frustrations out on you and your colleagues at the “help” counter. You were unflappable.
Well, maybe just the teensiest bit unkind when you laughed as you delivered the very bad news that not only would there be no flights to put us on for at least three days, but also that there were no hotel rooms to be had nearby JFK. Yeah, no. FYI, probably don’t laugh when you tell the customer that they are just royally fucked.
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I suppose I wasn’t at my best that night as I’d been there for over twelve hours stupidly expecting every thirty minutes that the “delay” was actually a “delay” and not what it really was. Some say “cancellation.” Some say “bend over.” Thank god for masks, eh, Taneika? BTW, we finally did find a hotel room. In Brooklyn. That was the closest one. And, since we were already halfway to Newark, New Jersey, we finally did book a flight out of that fine facility just twenty-four hours later (with your competitor).
Never fear. We’re already back home in Geezerville and snug in our beds. And almost none the worse for wear and tear, just down by about US$600. Let me just add that you are a consummate professional. Tell your supervisor I said so and that you should get a raise and a promotion. Although, fair warning—thus far, Jet Blue has been wholly unresponsive to all of our communications. They’ll probably listen to … oh, never mind. Just keep on being you ’cause you really shine at the whole “unable to do anything at all for you” thing. And like you said as we sadly left your station, “God bless!”
This next one is sincere and heartfelt. To the young man in the Newark airport who came to our rescue as we struggled for a good ten minutes to master the filling of our water bottles from the water bottle refill device. Honestly, while I wholeheartedly agree that we all need to ditch the plastic water bottle thing, I don’t know why I have to tender momentous decisions about my water usage and/or why I have to register my container before the agua floweth. It must have been (I see it was) extremely entertaining for you to witness the extraordinary difficulty we experienced just trying to get the damn water on.
It was kind of you to note that we were not alone in our struggle. Did you really say that you’d had to point that button out to at least three other parties? Were these other parties perchance also, like we are, the beneficiaries of Social Security and/or Medicare? Perhaps recipients of the fine AARP publications? Either way, this seems to point to a design flaw, no? At least for folks of a certain age bracket who aren’t quite as sophisticated tech-wise as you whippersnappers are. Whatever.
Can someone please tell me why the simple acquisition of water must necessitate engagement with a computer and a structure only minimally smaller than a tiny house? Why are the most basic needs now interactive?
Can someone please tell me why the simple acquisition of water must necessitate engagement with a computer and a structure only minimally smaller than a tiny house? Why are the most basic needs now interactive? Whatever happened to the simple sink and faucet for obtaining a drink of H2O? Oh, and just one further note regarding interpersonal relationships (in case you are interested), did you really have to snicker as you swaggered over to point to the ONE FUCKING BUTTON we didn’t push? I’m not going to use the word “condescending,” but, honestly? You hurt my fee-fees just a tiny bit.
It’s all good now. I’m already over it. The bottom line is, we got water and we did our bit to save the planet. I’m also not going to suggest that you should be mindful that geezers like us are in the vast minority, and you should be nice to our kind. I hate to say it but most of the people in our age cohort have thrown in the towel on the environment that YOU YOUNGSTERS WILL HAVE TO SALVAGE. Most of our cronies in Geezerville and elsewhere just don’t care about plastic. They watched The Graduate (and you should, too!) They thought that the invention of plastic was just dandy and most of them don’t give a crap if Gen X, Gen Z, and the Millennials in between are buried in it before their time. We care and we’ll continue to use our refillable water bottles no matter how hard you guys make it, damn it!
Finally, to the young attendant manning the exit gates at the San Diego International Airport parking structure in Terminal 2. THANK BABY JESUS you were there. Had that not been the case, I would probably be in the women’s correctional facility in downtown San Diego today. “Destruction of private property” would have been involved. Maybe “spousal homicide.” So, thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m a free woman today, largely because of you.
Here’s the problem. Your scanners are s o s l o w. I need speed. Especially at 2:00 a.m. when I’ve had precious little sleep (thanks again, JetBlue) for two nights in a row. When, under the best of circumstances, I scan my QR codes and my gate doesn’t go up IMMEDIATELY, I panic. I’m sorry you had to see that. I’m so sorry I was a tad cranky. By the time you got our gate to go up and we were finally liberated from the parking structure, Pablo was in such a state he allowed me to drive the car. Trust me when I tell you that that’s serious.
And yet, here we are. Nobody died. Nobody was even injured or threatened (much). You were oh so nice and very understanding and I hope that everyone who knows you appreciates you fully.
Bottom line, folks … everything just seems harder now in the outside world. I don’t know about you all, but we ain’t going nowhere for at least three months. Either it’s us and we’re just not ready for prime-time travel yet, or it’s the post-COVID world in general. It really does not matter which. My advice? Stay home until the world gets its shit together.