by Marinka on January 23, 2012

I am planning on going to Miami in March. To play mah jongg with my mah jongg playing friends and possibly become a Golden Girl.

I started playing mah jongg again last year with a new group of people and to celebrate my addition to the group the ladies suggested that we fly some place warm.  We would stay at a family hotel for which we would not have to pay, and play mah jongg for two days. Then, happy and geriatric, we would fly home.  The flight would be our only expense.

“Excuse me,” I spoke up when I first heard of this plan. “But wouldn’t it make more sense to rent a few hotel rooms in NYC and just play there, and as they say in the Old County,  fuck the flights?”

There was a brief silence during which everyone wondered if I was Alan Greenspan-type economic genius and then the five other women started speaking all at once.

That won’t work, they said.

If we’re in NYC, then our families will know that we’re around and they’ll call us and our husbands will say “can you just come home for a few hours? I need to run to the office” or some such.

And that will ruin our game, they explained.

And maybe our lives, I heard.

“Well can’t we TELL them that we’re going to Florida but really be holed up in a hotel in midtown?” I suggested. It’s like I’m the only one with a thinking cap in the room.

The group shook its collective head.  Some nonsense about deception and also Florida having a nice ocean and poolside mah jongg and those drinks with little umbrellas.



Alan Greenspan and I know when we’re outvoted.

Then we started on the we should fly together! And I should have known that this would be too much to coordinate, but my friend Ruby was all Stand Back! My travel agent will give us quotes!

And I’m still trying to fit in with this group, but I’m sorry, am I supposed to pretend that we’re in the 1990’s and travel agents aren’t extinct?  Because if that’s the case, I’ll be right back, I have to dial in my broker Bernie Maddoff on this here rotary phone and buy some Apple stock.

So I responded with a huh, I didn’t know travel agents still existed and no one said anything which I’m going to assume signified agreement.

And then the travel agent sends some flight information. For simplicity’s sake I’m including only the most pertinent information.

Flight A: round trip $450.  Leaves 6 am.

Flight B: round trip $250  Leaves 11 am.


We have an email chain going and everyone weighs in. Some people are concerned about the 6 am departure, but everyone except for me thinks that flight A is the way to go.  At this point I start calling around to schedule a brain scan for myself because for the life of me I don’t understand how the more expensive and insanely early flight is the better option.  I start to panic.  What do they all know that I don’t know?

Finally, I’m all fuck it, and I call Ruby to ask her.

Oh, Ruby explains.  She really doesn’t like to fly so anything that can make the flight more pleasant she’ll take.  And Flight A is Jet Blue, which she loves.

“Do you love how they have people sitting on the runways for 6 hours?” I ask. Because I want to feel the love, too.

But turns out that that is in fact not what Ruby loves most about the flight but I quickly realize that it’s better for me to make my own flight arrangements.

Possibly to an entirely different destination.

One year ago ...

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Awesome Dude January 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

Who is associating with the old women, being in his right mind?


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes January 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

I’m pretty sure you can get drinks with umbrella’s in NY… or is that forbidden by law in the city?


Megan January 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

They do know that’s only like a two-hour flight, right? Leaving at a civilized hour will get you to Miami by lunchtime so you can dive right into the umbrella drinks on the beach. Plus, you’ll have an extra $200 to BUY MORE DRINKS. Or to entice me to drive to Miami to pick you up at the airport. Either way.

What are they going to do in Miami at 8 in the morning? Traffic will be hideous.


joeinvegas January 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Come to Vegas, I’ll play MJ with you. I have my own tiles


dusty earth mother January 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I simply love that you’re flying to Miami to play mah jongg. That made my day.


Catherine Dabels
January 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I’ll play mah jongg with you. In Mexico. And I don’t care what time we fly out.


Loukia January 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Obviously you’re the only sane one in the group! See you in May! Have you booked that flight, yet?


the mama bird diaries
January 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

If you fly all the way to Miami, can you PLEASE do something in addition to playing mah jongg. Please. And we also just paid more for tickets b/c it was Jet Blue. I just love that airline. And the terminal at JFK is super nice.


Margaret (Nanny Goats)
January 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Stand back, my travel agent will give us quotes? <—- BAHAHAHAHAHA!!

You could have also said: "I believe there's an app for that."


Anna January 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I thought the game was for four people only.

Or am I missing the point?

I use my ex-husband’s travel agent. She is very helpful and books me tickets and gets me discounted rates at hotels. Being divorced is just wonderful.


January 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm

What the what?

How is leaving at 6AM better? Because then don’t you have to be at the airport at like 5AM? And all other manners of crazy?

Enjoy your umbrella drinks.


Tonya January 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Um, yea, I’m with the Suniverse: what the what?

Have you thought that perhaps all of your mah jong friends are really old people in disguise? Newborns and Old folks are the only beings who like to be up before the crack of dawn.


January 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Haha. Yes. I would NEVER choose to pay $200 more to go earlier. That’s crazy talk. Definitely go with Flight Plan B.

Also, if you really want to hide from your family I would suggest Minnesota. No one would suspect you here in the middle of winter. And you can stay at the Waterpark of America* and pretend you’re in a warmer climate.

*Not to be confused with the Mall of America which is across the street.


January 24, 2012 at 7:15 am

Oh my word you are getting old. This makes me very scared to turn 44 this year.


January 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I assume your daughter has started to plan her Montana trip


anymommy January 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Do not fly to Miami to play glorified dominoes. Fly there to drink and get warm.


Kara January 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

These women would LOVE my mother. She would tell me to expect her to arrive for a visit sometime before lunch, and then show up at my house (after a 2 hour car ride) at 9 o’clock in the morning!


January 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Oh you just absolutely must go to Miami, with these exact women. You had me at the hope of you becoming a Golden Girl. Really, the blog fodder after ths trip will be hysterical…I can just feel it.


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