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Friday, March 23, 2007


No Autographs Please!

There's absolutely nothing like a limousine ride to make you feel like a celebrity. Now that I've had one, I can state with confidence that it made me feel like Cinderella taking her ride in her pumpkin carriage. There I was, dressed up (with my prince), wearing cute shoes, being taken to my own personal ball. It was so I could speak to a group of doctors-but that's a middle-aged woman's equivalent of being the center of attention-at least in my way of viewing life.

For high school prom, I wore a dress similar to Cinderella-really. It was powder blue with white lace trim and a hoop skirt. Did I get a limo? No, in the 70's no one thought to do such a thing in our neighborhood. My date took me in his 10 year old opel. I'm sure it was a sight getting my dress in the car. And a bigger sight watching me literally pop out of it! What was I thinking when I bought that dress anyway?

My husband and I were old-fashioned, practical and poor. I still lived at home. He drove to our wedding in his corolla (we went home in this car after we were officially hitched). My parents drove me in their plymouth.

Through the years we'd see the big black cars with the dark windows and think, "Why does anyone need a chauffeur? Can't they take care of themselves?"

This week it was our turn to be the people with the luxury car and uniformed driver. And it wasn't for a short little hop of a trip either.

It all started a couple of weeks ago. I'm part of a volunteer advocacy group for one of my main rheumatoid arthritis drugs. When needed, we participate by speaking of our experiences as patients on this medication. After a little over 4 years it was my chance. A lovely lady called and asked if I could speak to a rheumatologist and his staff. It was about 150 miles away. For this, I was willing to give up half a day's pay at the job that helps pay the bills.

The first travel plan was to fly me up to the beach community. You know what the cliche about "best laid plans"! There were no direct flights and the timing was totally off. They decided it would be easiest to send the limousine. Somehow my husband was invited! This would be the first time since my "broken foot incident", except for the birth of our grandson, that we'd get to spend the day together. What an adventure!

At exactly noon, we were greeted by a Mercedes! The driver opened both the passenger doors for us and whisked us away for the next step of our new experience.

No one could see us, but we could see them-craning their necks to try and see who was in the back seat.

We arrived rested and with enough free time to take a much needed walk with window shopping. Even some coffee and lunch at the local Starbucks.

The meeting, dinner and my speech went wonderfully. Everyone from my group's contacts, to the doctors and their staff were so nice and they were genuinely excited to have me there. I was made to feel even more like the belle of the ball.

Before we knew it, goodbyes were in order and we were again met with the open passenger doors of our "carriage". This time we were whisked back to our home and everyday lives. Just as if I was Cinderella when she hears the first gong.

Like Cinderella, we arrived at the stroke of midnight-everything went back to normal very quickly. The driver practically burnt rubber leaving our housing tract. We walked in and I had chores to do. There was letting the dog out, cleaning and replenishing the animals water bowl, making my lunch for work, getting my breakfast set up and putting out my clothes. It was sure nice while it lasted.

I will never forget my first limo ride. Maybe, by including the word "first" in the prior sentence, the odds of being minor celebrity for a day will happen again.

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