That explains it


I felt like I had been slapped upside my head with a pair of nunchucks. After an 18-hour flight from San Francisco, I was still on Mississippi days and nights and had not fast-forwarded to Hong Kong time. All of us who flew in from the States, had to move our body clocks ahead 23 hours and 45 minutes. That’s what somebody said the time difference was. Whatever, my travel companion Edrie Royals and I had some fast adjusting to do.

She and I were to meet up with a group touring China and Japan on a Celebrity Cruise but getting off the plane, somehow we lost sight of each other in the crowded Hong Kong International Airport.

Relieved, I recognized a Barbie Doll petite lady who was somewhat close to my age. She had not been in Economy, where I was but I had noticed her a row in front of Edrie. She and an older looking gentleman had been studying a Celebrity Millennium Cruise folder. Stylishly dressed, she wore a beige pencil skirt, a coral knit top, and gold wedges. The thin, stoop-shouldered, wheezing gentleman close behind her pulled two large carry-ons.

I thought she might be part of our tour group, and if so, maybe she knew where we would meet.

Just ahead of me, suddenly Barbie Doll stopped, spread her legs, raised and angled a camera, attached to a long metal stick. I don’t know how the two of them did it, but somehow she and her escort managed to block the narrow, crowded walkway. She smiled and began snapping pictures of herself, changing her pose while one by one the crowd slid by.


Thinking she would take only one or two pictures and be done, I decided to wait a moment.  

After a few poses and clicks she swung around, faced, and almost knocked me over. I stepped back. She tossed her head and snapped selfies in the same spot, with several different expressions.

“Are you with our tour group?” I finally asked.

She cocked her head and looked like she was speaking into the microphone of a P.A. system.

“I don’t do tours. I’m not a groupie.”

She rolled her eyes, flung her head, and angled her chin upward and sideways.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

Even though we were almost the same height she managed to look down her nose at me. Maybe it was my imagination, but up close Miss Selfie smelled a little like a wet cat.

“Mississippi,” I answered.

“She’s lost,” the woman laughed as if this were the funniest thing she had heard in a month of Sundays. She wheeled around and clicked her picture with my chin almost on her shoulder. “She’s from Mississippi. That explains it.”

Miss Selfie snapped another picture and popped me in the shoulder with her camera stick.

Understand, although I am not to the manor born, I am somewhat of a Southern lady and try not to be an intrusive person. I do have manners, but I felt an overwhelming desire to stick my tongue out. As close as Miss Selfie stood though, I might have licked her ear.

Flipping her hand in a forward motion to her companion, Miss Selfie whirled around and the two of them began power-walking, shoving their way through the crowd.

“Well, bless your heart,” I called out. But she didn’t hear me.  

Just then I spotted Edrie. She and I had played our own game of airport tag and it was sweet relief when we finally found each other then located our tour group. We loaded our luggage, and boarded a bus.


Our first night would be spent in a hotel, not aboard our cruise ship, the Celebrity Millennium. We checked in, and left an early morning wakeup call; we were signed up for an eight o’clock city tour of Hong Kong.

For now, Edrie and I were ready to crash; tired bodies were not ready for pillow talk. She and I had had less than six hours of sleep, if that much since we left Jackson.

Even though I was exhausted, I did not sleep well.

I became a movie star. Selfie cameras flashed on and off all night long. My daughter had been taking my picture. She was Liza Minnelli, and I was Judy Garland.

But the camera was not snapping the Judy of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Oh no. It was the older Judy Garland who once spoke of herself in a movie, “I was really little tortured Tillie.”

Too soon the telephone rang. (“Velcome to Hung Kung. This is your six o’clock vake up kull.”)