I just arrived home from a weekend in Washington DC to celebrate the birthday of an old friend. And no, that’s not a bad camera shot, although I am quite capable of them; it’s that I can’t show you the whole picture because he’s retired from a post with the State Department where he was involved in covert operations from time to time.
“Old friend”applies every way you look at it. Old FRIEND because I’ve known him since first grade, and OLD friend because he’s older than me, by two months, a fellow card-carrying member of the first year of baby-boomers to grace this earth. As if this wasn’t enough to remind me that time has marched on, the next day I found myself officially declaring to the world that yes, indeed I am an official old person.
I was traveling back to New York on Amtrak and arrived at Washington’s Union Station with over an hour to spare. And as my dad would say I “had to run my mouth.” so I called a friend. And after 15 minutes or so of running my mouth I saw that I’d been oblivious to that fact that a line was forming at the boarding gate. and by t he time I got myself over there it was a long line snaking clear out of the waiting area. So I trudged to the back,kicking myself for not being more mindful of what was transpiring.
Fifteen minutes before departure, the boarding process began with the announcement
“Priority boarding for seniors, the disabled and business class travelers. ”
l looked at my ticket. Yes, there it was SENIOR!!! Can you believe I almost let vanity keep me there at the back of the line? I can’t believe it! But yes, I was thinking I can’t go up there with all those old people
Well the thought was distinguished by a voice in my head that sounded awfully like Mr T –
“FOOL!” It said.
so I gathered up my bags and made my way through the crowd. I admit I had to use my NY aggressiveness those blocking the way who didn’t know the meaning of “excuse me.” Well, actually I prefer to think they thought I was a gate crasher because I couldn’t possibly be 62 or older
Still mired in this vein of delusional thought, I was delighted when the boarding agent stopped me and scolded “There’s a line here.”
“I’m a senior,” I proclaimed,
Yes, there’s the line And sure enough there was a line of white and grey hairs waiting to have their senior tickets checked.
I got on line, and was soon admitted – no questions asked, sigh, no proof of age requested
We still had to wait another 15 minutes but al least we were in. and I began to feel a camaraderie with all these fellow seniors.
I must mention how different the boarding procedure is at Unions Station, from New York’s Penn Station, where I had begun my journey. At Penn, there is are no airport-like individual gates nor do they even announce the track until 15 minutes before boarding so one has to wander around or sit in one of the main waiting areas wondering if you;ll find the gate in time. Nor is there senior boarding – or even a line, for that matter!. Instead it’s a pushy NY type funneling action with passengers jockeying for position as they wave their tickets at the agent waving them through. Mind you I’m just saying I’m not disparaging my beloved Big Apple. Besides with my multi-year existence as a NY’er I am most adept at wiggling through small spaces. but that’s a subject for a future blog.
Anyway, that was my train of thought and I’d just begun to believe that the mystery surrounding the New York track departure was a security measure, when right then and there I saw that Washington has the Big Apple beat on that front too. As we seniors waited “In an orderly line,” as we’d been commanded. A security officer walked past accompanied by his bomb-sniffing Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Then he walked past again, and once more, and then, one more time for good measure, as the dog indulged in cursory sniffs of our luggage.
I smiled as I realized these dogs are also trained to sniff drugs. Wouldn’t it be funny if he found something referred to in 60’s vernacular as “Some good sh*t ?
Think about . Those of us line standers in our 60’s were the 60’s! That would have been Outta Sight, Man!