Could You Tatoo the Directions on My Arm?

Tube1A nice airport security officer directed us to the Underground. The kids took pack-watching duty as Donna and I joined the cue in the ticket line.

“Where is our hotel on this map?”

“Here.” Donna pointed to a spot among the scribbled colored lines.

“And where is the airport?”

“It’s not on this map.”

“What the…”

“Jeffery, Heathrow is a suburb.”


“We have to take a train from here to downtown.”

“Just shoot me in the head.”

The line was moving faster than I thought. Behind glass windows, clerks dispensed tickets to – unlike us – people who knew where they were going. I hoped they’d be patient with us. There were three sweet-looking older ladies, and one big, mean-looking bald guy with tattoos covering his forearms.

“Next please” said the tattooed man.

We approached his window. “We need five tickets.” the brave hearted Donna declared.  What she said next should have gone something like this: “What is the cutoff age for a child’s ticket?” or “How young must someone be to get a child’s ticket?” Instead, it came out: “What ages are the children?”

He raised his arms and dramatically shrugged his shoulders. “Luv, I don’t know your children’s ages!”

Donna reacted with a nervous laugh. Mine followed and attempting to lighten the situation, I asked him to guess our children’s ages.

“Judging by the number of grey hairs,” He said, pointing to my temples then wiping the side of his bald head, “I’d guess they are teen-agers. “

“You guessed right – two of them at least.” I was relieved by his jocularity.

“When visiting London,” he said – his voice taking a serious tone. “It’s best to purchase an all-day pass, then you can ride all the trains, subways, and buses in town for one price“.  We listened as attentively as two school children. “And you’ll be happy to discover you can purchase a family pass with discounts for your children under sixteen. “ Alex wouldn’t turn sixteen for another week, so we’d save some money. We asked the best route to our hotel. “The Blue Line is the main train out of Heathrow.” he explained, tapping on his keyboard with his stubby fingers. “Take it to Earls Court.” The tickets began to spill out of the little printer next to him. “Then take the District Line – that’s the Green Line – in the direction of Edgeware   Road. Kensington High Street will be the next stop.” He winked. “It’s easy. Nine pounds please”.

Pretending to understand, I smiled and gave a thumbs-up while Donna paid him and walked away.

“Luv!” His voice rang from the amplified speaker through the crowded lobby. He was still holding our tickets. “You’re so anxious to see the Crown Jewels that you’ve forgotten these!”

With every eye in the station watching, Donna walked back and grabbed our tickets. Her bright red face was trying to look composed. Our eyes met and within seconds laughter poured out – and I mean poured out.  The kids looked at us like we’d gone nuts.

NEXT: Lights, Camera, Action!




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