Head Trip

"Just put it on my credit card," I say to the American Airlines agent at the gate.

I'm pleased with myself. I have gotten to LaGuardia early enough to get a flight that will get me home several hours sooner than my original ticket.

As I move to the back of the line of passengers on the jetway, I look at my ticket and again pat myself on the back. "Aisle seat, row 11, extra legroom!" I say aloud. I’m not worried my fellow flyers will question my glee because they'd certainly empathize with this great spot.

But my outspoken declaration must've roused my husband who, since his own flight departure, has been residing in my head and engaging me in frequent conversations.

"I don't know why you're feeling so proud of yourself," I imagine him saying. "You just spent $75 to get this earlier flight, and that's on top of the $75 you spent to change airports."

I wasn't surprised to hear Tommy's view because my recent shifts and credit card action were two hotspots in our otherwise mellow marriage. As example of his steadfastness, my husband had lived in the same apartment for several decades. His bride though, counted 13 changes of residences before we met and two more post-Las Vegas nuptials.

In the second area of major spousal differences, Tommy worked at jobs with modest salaries yet managed to enter our marriage with an admirable savings account. Me?  I supplemented my income with a Home Equity Line of Credit, and even when warned by my tax advisor that it was likely I'd outlive my money, I did little to change my practice.

"Is it the extra $150 that's bothering you, Honey?" I ask the curmudgeon accompanying me along the gangplank. "You of all people should understand that life is unpredictable, and hanging at the airport wasting precious time is crazy."

What I didn't point out is this: who could have forcasted that less than a year ago, Tommy was alive, on this earth, not in my head. We should've taken that trip to the Greek Islands we talked about. Or Japan. Oh, there were a number of places that were on our Someday list. And now, he is relegated to being my fanciful traveling partner.

My spouse was quiet as I found my aisle seat, and when I enlisted a sturdy male to hoist my carry-on to the overhead bin. This, of course, was my muscular husband's task on the trips we did take together. In his absence, I pull my little old lady act and stand helpless until someone conjures his granny and comes to my aide.

Once I'm seated, with seatbelt securely fastened, Tommy starts up again. "So why Kennedy instead of LaGuardia?" he asks. "If you would've chosen this airport in the first place, you could've saved $150 in change fees, plus the $20 difference in cab fares."

I was wondering when he was going to get around to that major gaffe. I had my answer at the ready; I'd blame someone else.

"Well, I put the query on my Facebook page and..."

Did I see my spouse shaking his head? I realized I had walked into a third breach in our harmonious life. While I own every Apple device Steve Jobs dreamed up, I couldn't get my husband to desire an email address. His only interest in technology came when he'd  haul a kitchen chair to my home office and glare over my shoulder as I opened website after website trying to find his perfect golf club.

"Okay, Honey," I said. "I know you don't like Facebook or understand my obsession with it, but normally my friends have submitted very good advice to my questions. For example.."

I stopped before I could list the successful recommendations that clearly outnumbered this last erroneous answer of Kennedy over LaGuardia. "Okay, maybe I should've done more research," I said. "It was a learning experience. Next trip in, I'll have the right answer.”

Tommy was silent. Had I wounded him? I shouldn't have mentioned visits to New York. I jumped in before his voice returned to my head. "This trip was great," I said, "but nothing like our jaunt to the Big Apple. I didn't do any of the memorable things we did together. No Central Park, no Ellis Island, no Tenement Museum."

As the airplane lifted from the runway, I closed my eyes to recall that wonderful weekend we shared. Did I slumber? It's possible because Tommy quieted down, too, likely satisfied I hadn't forgotten.