Every year, upon my return, St. Pauli Girl peppers me with the same questions: “How's so-and-so doing? How are his kids? How's his wife? Is he still at the same job?”
My answer is usually: “Well, I didn't ask him about that. I guess they're all fine. But I can tell you his golf scores.”
Conversely, when St. Pauli Girl returns from her annual all girls weekend, my only question is: “Did you have a pillow fight?”
This year, my golf weekend got off to a rough start when my clubs failed to arrive on the same plane as myself. I'm used to this indignity and know the procedure. However, due to the small presence of this particular airline at the equally small South Carolina airport, all of the employees were out loading the plane for its departure. After waiting thirty minutes, I approached the friendly woman at the ticket counter who typed quickly on the computer, then announced, “Your golf clubs are in Dallas.”
Then she asked me how I checked my bag, as if maybe I had given instructions that my clubs would prefer a later flight out of Dallas so it could have some drinks and party with the other cargo for awhile.
“Well, I don't know what they're doing there,” she said, “but we'll deliver your bag to you after the last flight at 7:00 p.m.”
So when my brothers and I played our first round that afternoon, I had to use a set of rental clubs. We rode in carts but had a caddy with us to help out, per the course's requirements. He probably should have been heavily armed: we saw more alligators than people on the course.
At one point, we watched a cute baby alligator make its way across the fairway in front of us. We raced for our phone cameras but for me, with no zoom, the pictures didn't turn out. Still hoping for a good action shot, I said, “We'd better be on the lookout for the mama gator.”
After we had passed the cute baby gator, we saw a very large gator on the opposite fairway swinging its massive tail back and forth. So of course I thought it was the mama acting protectively, then I realized that it was probably just a big ol' hungry non-relative. The baby gator stopped suddenly about twenty yards from the large gator,which had started to approach it. Suddenly the small gator turned and ran back to where it had come from, with the large gator in hot pursuit.
Our caddy, whom I shall refer to as Marlin Perkins, took off toward the gators. The large gator chomped down on the small gator's tail but it managed to wriggle free and escape. Upon his return, young Marlin Perkins said, "I was trying to help."
I commented, “A really good caddy would have taken our cameras to get a closer picture.”
The lesson here is that big alligators run really fast on land, and as I remembered from my golf days back in Florida, if you are ever chased by an alligator, you need to run in a zig-zag pattern. Although alligators are fast, they are not very agile.
The rest of the weekend produced just boring golf stories. However, coming home, on my final flight out of Dallas, I saw a celebrity in the gate area who I shall call Bob. I thought about approaching him and sharing an anecdote on our related travails but decided not to as I watched someone else go up and shake his hand like they were long lost friends, which, judging from the look on Bob's face, they were not. I realized it would be about the same as if a stranger came up to me, slapped me on the back, and said that we'd once shared a urinal trough at Wrigley Field, remember?
I happened to be in line behind Bob as we boarded the plane and waited as he stowed his carry-on bags, then carefully folded himself into his seat (he really is tall). He kept a distant stare as if he was studying some philosophical conundrum floating just above everyone else's head. But I suspect it was to avoid conversation-engaging eye contact with strangers.
In the end, it just reminded me that people are people, and we all have our own problems yet deal with many common ones like no legroom on airplanes (except Bob was in an exit row). I also noticed he didn't check any bags either.
On the other end of the country, my brother arrived at his final destination but could not locate his golf bag on the baggage carousel. He went to the baggage office where he found out that his golf bag had taken an earlier flight. Maybe next time if we coordinate how we check in our bags, we can all arrive at the same time.