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False start: Who needs money?

Our 2007 trip to Europe started with a flight from Phoenix to Phoenix. The aircraft we boarded to begin our journey had a mechanical problem just after takeoff. However, it had too much fuel to land safely, so we circled west of the airport for about an hour before landing. We then rescheduled a later flight.

Likewise, our recent trip had a false start. Except we never got off the ground. Or onto the aircraft. Or even to the airport.

What’s this stuff for?

What’s this stuff for?

Our trip started on a Friday. My parents both happen to have Fridays off work, so we asked them to bring us to the airport. Since no one really likes taking someone else to the airport, and since we had a late afternoon flight, we decided to sweeten the deal by offering to take them to lunch first. As luck would have it, our favorite local pub, Casey Jones Grill, starts its happy hour at 11:00 am and is between our house and the airport. It was a perfect storm, but in a good way.

My folks showed up right on time — ten minutes early, as usual. We loaded the car with our suitcase and carry-on bags, double-checked the house, locked the door, and headed for the pub, which is only a few minutes away. We had a round of drinks and ordered lunch. Everyone enjoyed their food. A good time was had by all.

I don’t remember how, why, or when, but at some point, the conversation turned to debit and credit cards. I mentioned how I’d just learned our debit cards, like our American Express cards, had different numbers on them, so if I lost my card, we could report it lost and continue to use Kathryn’s, or vice versa.

At this point, Kathryn announced she hadn’t brought her debit card.

At first I thought she was kidding, but she was serious. Her plan was just to use mine. The possibility we might become unintentionally separated had never even crossed her mind, much less the chance I could misplace a card or have it stolen. Well, at least she had her American Express card, right? Nope, she’d left that home, too. At this point I really thought she must be joking. She wasn’t. She had one credit card, which would be worthless if my wallet got stolen, and a very small amount of cash. That was it.

I realize I have a short fuse. I’m not sure the exact hue of reddish-purple my face turned, or just how many veins burst in my neck and forehead. Perhaps the presence of my parents had a calming effect. Or maybe the couple rounds of happy hour specials had mellowed me out. Whatever the case, I didn’t go completely nuts. However, it was clear we’d be returning home before heading to the airport.

Fortunately, we had plenty of time.