THE $400 BOWL OF OATMEAL

bowl of oatmealSubtitle “The High Cost of Being Late”.

The world isn’t divided into the haves and have nots, but instead the anally compulsive early arrivers and the fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best crew. I am loathe to admit I am the former and Bree, one of my dearest friends, is the latter.

So when Bree decided to make her first pilgrimage to Paradise to visit me, I was thrilled. She carefully relayed her itinerary, which included leaving her house for the airport at 4:30am. Since she is someone I would never consider ringing before noon, I felt some trepidation, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, even though it meant leaving my adorable little part-time job as a church secretary (insert uproarious laughter here! But that’s a tale for another day; suffice it to say Ms. Ants in Her Pants simply doesn’t excel at retirement) early in order to meet her flight.

On the way to the airport I received a terse text stating she had missed her flight and would arrive several hours later. Apparently Bree had laid out a careful timetable for herself, but at the last moment decided that a hot & steamy bowl of oatmeal at her kitchen table would be the perfect start to her 8-day vacation. When she finally arrived at the airport she was late enough they wouldn’t allow her to board; no problem except the tiny regional airport only has one flight out a day to my neck of the woods.

Pondering whether this was a sign from the cosmos saying go home and cancel your trip, she decided instead to risk driving to LaGuardia to see if she could fly out of there instead, a tiny detail she neglected to tell me in her text. When she finally stumbled through the arrivals gate, she looked like a character from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” The Walking Dead”. She was frazzled, rattled, and her eyeballs were spinning backward in her head. Did I mention she was wearing jeans, a sweater, and was toting a parka? Peeps, when you come to visit Paradise I kid you not when I beseech you to pack nothing but swimsuits and shorts! In the past year, we’ve had 313 sunny days averaging 80 degrees.

Bree was surprised to discover that the daily parking rate at LaGuardia would cost her $184 more than she had budgeted. No problem; she would temporarily park there and have her stepdaughter retrieve her car and park it at the original airport, except this didn’t happen for 5 days due to the Thanksgiving holidays. Then she had to overnight her car keys to said stepdaughter, costing her $62 each way, because she needed them back in order to pick up her car at the original airport. Then she realized she had neglected to put the parking stub in the envelope with the car keys, costing an additional $42 UPS overnight fee. Add to that the $50 change fee the airline charged to issue her a new ticket from LaGuardia, this entire bowl of oatmeal ended up costing her $400.

For all the New Age, hippy-dippy, airy fairy thinking Bree and I have in common, I will always remain the worrying, hand-wringing planner, while she will blissfully continue to decide on a company dinner menu at 7PM!

A bowl of oatmeal…$400; the value of friendship…priceless.