Brain fog is the scourge of menopause, or rather post menopause for those of us who are an over 50 traveler and don’t have to worry about the red terror anymore. That’s when your mental state turns into scrambled eggs and you worry you’ll forget your own name.
A true story, although the author, who is an over 50 traveler, is keeping the identity of the woman in question a secret.
Beaming with excitement, she made her way to the security gate at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on her way to Denver. She would be attending a workshop that would transform her feeble attempts as a writer. No longer would she use the words, “delicious,” “tasty,” “sweet” or “creamy” when describing a bowl of pudding.
She gingerly tapped her cell phone under the scanner. It was a proud moment to have graduated from paper tickets to electronic at the age of sixty-one. She took a step forward in the line when suddenly, a TSA agent stopped her.
“You have the wrong boarding pass!”
“I. . . what?” She said, bewildered.
You’re at the wrong airport. This ticket’s for LAX!”
Red-faced, she scrambled to the airport taxi stand, too embarrassed to call her ride, who was far from the airport by now. A heavily accented cabby guaranteed he’d hotfoot it across town for a mere $100!
She stepped into the cab, reluctantly, hoping to make it on time.
The weather was unusually hot. Rather than turn on the air conditioner, the cabby opened his window, turning the car into a sweatbox. Thirsty, she reached for her water bottle and realized she’d dumped it at the security gate.
We all know that water bottles at airports are evil.
Traffic was slow and her blood pressure peaked with anxiety as each minute ticked away.
“This jerk has purposely picked the worst route possible,” she thought to herself.
With minutes to spare, they made it to the terminal.
Running inside, she dragged her carry-on up an escalator and raced through security. As luck would have it, she’d been randomly chosen for Pre-TSA and didn’t have to disrobe or empty her suitcase.
Grateful for the few minutes gained, she continued to zigzag her way to the “furthest gate” only to see her plane roll off toward the runway.
It was the first time she’d ever missed a flight.
Defeated, she trudged sheepishly to the ticket counter but was relieved to hear another plane was leaving soon. It stopped in Oakland, adding a few hours to her itinerary but it would get her there. She zipped into the restroom, bought a bottle of water and waited for her turn to board, which was dead last. Fearing the overhead bins would be full, she stepped aboard the plane.
As she predicted, there was no place to stash her suitcase. An older gentleman moved a few bags around, hoisted her suitcase up to the bin and made it fit.
She wanted to marry him.
Squeezing into a middle seat, she spent the next hour watching trash TV on her IPAD.
When the plane landed, the same man took her suitcase down without even asking.
After three hours in Oakland, she was on her way to Denver.
The Denver airport is modern but challenging for anyone who isn’t an Olympic athlete.
After trudging through long corridors and holding on for dear life down two escalators, she reached the train stop that would take her to the exit. Three terminals later, she got off and boarded a shuttle to her hotel.
No one said being an over 50 traveler is easy.
Back to the airport again.
Still dark, she sleepily made her way to the hotel lobby to meet the shuttle that would take her back to the airport. She thought it was cool that she could track the van in “real-time” on her phone.
Technology is awesome.
Back at the airport again, she dragged her suitcase up two escalators, walked a mile and hung on for dear life down two more escalators to reach the security gate. A swarm of people was lined up in rows that looked like the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. After twenty nauseating turns back and forth, and a major hot flash, she found herself at the front of the line.
Lightheaded, she approached the TSA agent several times before officially being called forward. He must have thought she was a crazy old broad but, fortunately, didn’t have her strip-searched. As she glanced at her electronic boarding pass, she realized she was, again, TSA-Pre.
“Crap!” she exclaimed.
It was too late to change lines. Begrudgingly, she undressed, took her computer out of her bag and dug through her backpack to find her “liquids.”
“I’m beginning to think I need a chaperone!”
She still had to slog up two more escalators and take the train through three terminals before she reached the gate and breakfast. Stepping onto the escalator, she saw a young woman ahead of her juggling a baby in a carrier and a suitcase at the same time.
She wondered if the poor thing had three arms and was glad her kids were all grown up.
At the gate, she grabbed a greasy egg croissant and a latte and then balanced them with her cell phone, suitcase, and a newly bought water bottle as she went to find a seat.
Airports are a great place to improve hand-eye coordination and flexibility.
Again, she was last on the plane and another man helped hoist her bag.
It was nice to know chivalry isn’t dead.
At LAX, she hustled outside to meet the bus that would take her back to the Valley. Several bus drivers couldn’t make up their minds which bus was going to leave. They had her walking back and forth between them until she finally boarded. It was a dizzy afternoon and she was glad to make it home safe and sound.
Tell us your menopause stories. Please leave a comment below.