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.