How not to travel ‘old’


Let me make one thing perfectly clear.  I am NOT old despite the number of years I’ve managed to survive.  It’s so unfair that people judge us by the age we’ve been assigned especially when certain mystifying behaviors begin creeping in.

For example. It has come to my attention that I might have begun driving like an old person.  Admittedly I have developed an aversion to interstates. There was a time I used to race across the Mississippi coast on I-10 like a mad woman.  Fear was not in my vocabulary.

Now I try to find two-lane dirt roads for my travels.  There’s never any traffic and I like to shoot photos of old barns which are being reduced in numbers faster than my brain cells.


Then I moved from the big city into a small Southern town where no one seems to be in a hurry. Recently  I had to go to Memphis and I was struck by a fear of merging  from an on-ramp. Traffic backed up  to the Mississippi River because I suffered from “merge paralysis.”  Finally my traveling companion reached over and pressed the gas pedal at the appropriate moment and I screeched into the fray screaming at the top of my lungs and I think my head made a 365 degree rotation. .

From now on I will limit my travel to cities connected by trains.
Here are some suggestions on how to avoid traveling like an old person.

1. If you’re flying, do not get to the airport three and a half hours ahead of time. Yes, it takes a while to get through security these days: maybe 17 minutes. Then you’ve still got a whole three hours and 22 minutes to kill, and there are only so many Auntie Anne’s pretzels a person can eat.

2.  Do not dress up for the flight. Assuming you’re neither the pilot nor a flight attendant, there is no need to wear a tie, skirt, hat with a shiny visor, shoes more formal than flipflops, or a bra. If you feel sloppy, wear designer sunglasses and paint your lips fire engine red.

3. Don’t make friends with the person sitting next to you.  No one wants that these days apparently.

4. If you’re driving, no maps. Definitely no AAA Trip-tiks. GPS and Mapquest should get you there.

5.Do not complain each and every time you fill up, about how expensive gas has gotten. You might as well be wearing your personalized AARP nametag. Older people LOVE to complain about the price of gasoline which you should begin referring to as “fuel”. (Much more hip.)

6 If you get lost and have to pull into a gas station to ask for directions, don’t keep nodding as if you totally understand and then turn the wrong way right out of the parking lot. That’s what Beth, Norma and I did recently.  It took us five hours to make a 3- trip to see Linda Barton in South Mississippi.

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