Time went

Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs

Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) with Ed Norton (Art Carney), and Alice Kramden (Audrey Meadows) in a Honeymooners scene

“Where did the time go?” Who knows, but it went! What a shock to spot that gorgeous, still undulating lava lamp in a display window and then realize it’s in an antique shop. Likewise, when you alone sing along to “Jail House Rock,” enact the whole Who’s on First or confuse the young around you with a flawless rendition of a Bob Newhart or Jonathan Winters routine.

This leads me to suggest a great time-filler when the coffee club falls silent or all are desperate to escape yet another go-round about the Great Twitterer (or Twit, if you prefer). With a bunch of contemporaries, mention a name (Xena, Gabrielle, Cheyenne) or a phrase (“To the moon, Alice!”) and see the smiles as memories awaken. Dumb? Maybe, but the chain of recollections may lead to accounts of surprising youthful naughtiness and fantasies (Batman and Robin? Of course! Miss Jane and Mr. Drysdale? Hmm).

Current names and events may trouble us, but the past is often clear. A friend conducts group sessions with memory challenged adults using this technique; skipping the present and bringing up significant words from the past. He reports great stories from the fifties, Korea, Vietnam and even WWII.

Reactions might be: Jackie Robinson? I met him once; Marlene Dietrich and I had a long talk at Noel Coward’s house; My mother made costumes at MGM and took me whenever she was fitting a big star; Roosevelt? I helped the secret service guys fix his wheelchair, but I could never tell anyone about it. Such stories are for you and your friends too. Give it a try. Who knows what anecdotes lurk behind those closed doors waiting for a key word to release them.

Plan B

Father taught us to always have a Plan B. I recently neglected (again) his wise counsel. From Singapore, the plan was an airport morning arrival two hours before the flight to Bangkok and thus arriving there so early as to make a Plan B for a hotel room unnecessary. For sure we’d easily buy tickets and fly at once to Chiang Mai.

Confidently strapping ourselves in, we waited for take-off. And waited. And waited. Two hours later we deplaned to receive an “Apology lunch. At no cost, ladies and gentlemen” translation: “One little counter-cafe would allow us up to eight Singapore dollars; cash was required for over that. It was a critical point as we had blown all our local money on indispensable snacks.

For the next three hours, we passengers ran around to three ever-changing gates; eventually re-boarding five hours delayed. All the time we had schlepped suitcases, carry-ons and assorted packets of essential nourishment.

Arriving in Bangkok at last, we finished customs and got in line at 6:15 to buy our new tickets. The staff said we “might” make the 7 o’clock flight if we got to Gate 44 in time. Off we raced to the outer realm of a terminal arm to be told, “Sorry. You want Gate 34 at the end of the next arm.” With no Plan B, back we dashed the length of the vast airport to the end of another leg. Verging on prostration, we had five minutes to spare and collapsed into our seats, obviously re-used from an elementary school’s bus. Relief lasted a mere ten minutes. The baby in front joined the baby behind in a duet from hell. Imagine our mood as we toasted King Herod with our Snickers bars.

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Posted by on Mar 2, 2017. Filed under Bill's Briefs, Bottom Highlights, Latest Issue. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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