Holiday Survival Discovery: They Don’t Call Me Bonnie (And I Don’t Know Clyde)

12-10 Lights

Last year, my older son had a sometimes job of exercising an elderly lady’s dog. She had been ill, so it’d been over a week since the dog had been walked. One Sunday, Sarah* called. (Coincidentally, this was the day following the lice debacle and the kids decided the day must begin for me after a mere four hours of sleep.)  She asked if I could run some errands for her because her helper didn’t show up. I told her I could.

We arrived half an hour later, as she requested. On her counter, she had a list of items she needed. She crossed off paper towel. She read through the list again and crossed off a couple more items. I saw orange marmalade and water and asked her if she had brands she preferred. “You don’t need to worry about that stuff,” she said as she crossed those items off as well.  “I just need a couple things to get me through the holidays.”

“Okay. Which things do you need?”

“I need a carton of cigarettes.”

“All right.”

“And a bottle of LTD.”

I had no idea what that was, until she opened her cabinet and pulled out a nearly-empty bottle of Canadian whiskey.

I smiled and stifled a laugh. Cigarettes and whiskey to get through the holidays. Maybe I should try that!

She handed me her car keys, but I insisted on using my own car. Then she handed me her bank card. “Are you comfortable with using this?”

I hesitated. “Um. Okay.” What I meant to say was, Are you crazy? Of course I’m not okay with it!

“I’ve never had an issue with it before. I have plenty of bucks in the bank,” she assured.

“Um, okay.”

I drove to the place she told me to get the cigarettes.  What if she’s setting me up and she reported this card stolen? I shrugged the nagging thought off and chalked it up to writing too much fiction.

I handed the gal behind the counter the empty cigarette pack. “I need a carton of these, please.” I’m sure I didn’t ask  like a smoker would. She set the carton on the counter and I handed her the card. Please don’t ask for ID. If she asks for ID, do I run or try to explain why I have a bank card that wasn’t mine?

She didn’t ask for ID. I returned her wish for a Merry Christmas and breathed a sigh of relief, still unable to believe a carton of cigarettes was nearly $57 dollars.

Next, I pulled into the parking lot of the liquor store she said to go to. I wonder if LTD is a secret code for something illegal? Again, I shook off the worries and blamed it on watching too much crime TV.

I don’t drink (except for Lipton on the rocks) so I stepped inside and marveled at the sheer number of bottles. I found the bottle I’d snapped a photo of. Mission almost accomplished. I wondered if I was tempting fate and jail time by using this card a second time.

Again, as I checked out, they didn’t ask for ID. As I drove back to her house, another worry crept into my mind. What if this was a test? She might ask me to score some medical marijuana next time.

Oh no, there wouldn’t be a next time. She’d have to wait for her helper.

The constant worry confirmed what I always knew: I was not cut out for a life of crime (or using someone else’s bank card with permission.) But I did walk away with a new bit of wisdom imparted by our elderly acquaintance. If the holidays get too much, I now know that whiskey and cigarettes can get me through!

*Name changed to protect the wise 🙂

Do you have any secrets (legal or not) for making it through the holidays?  I love this time of year, so I don’t usually get too stressed… but it doesn’t hurt to keep ideas on hand!

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31 thoughts on “Holiday Survival Discovery: They Don’t Call Me Bonnie (And I Don’t Know Clyde)

  1. nrhatch December 9, 2014 / 7:07 AM

    Bwahaha! You’re a good egg, Janna . . . buying Sarah her preferred booze and cigarettes to keep her going through the HO~HO~HOLIDAYS!

    My secrets to Holiday Sanity

    #1 ~ live where it’s WARM so you don’t have to maneuver over snow banks or ice.

    #2 ~ steer clear of the mall from Thanksgiving to Christmas . . . unless you just want to wander around and admire the decorations.

    #3 ~ buy all gifts at the Grocery Store . . . everyone needs to eat!

    #4 ~ get plenty of exercise to maintain balance

    #5 ~ laugh at any insanity that slips into the mix

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:25 PM

      Great list, Nancy! There is sure to be insanity somewhere along the way, so laughter is definitely a good thing 🙂

      • nrhatch December 10, 2014 / 4:32 PM

        Exactly! Thanks for a fun post.

        • jannatwrites December 15, 2014 / 10:24 PM

          🙂 Fun is good- any time of year!

  2. suzicate December 9, 2014 / 7:46 AM

    My goodness, I had no idea cigarettes are so expensive! I also had no idea what LTD is!
    We are low key during the holidays. The only thing I do to keep stress-free is stay away from the mall, ha! I do the little shopping I do online.

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:25 PM

      I like online shopping, too, Suzicate. No odd looks when I’m browsing wearing fleece pajamas and bunny slippers 🙂

  3. Debbie December 9, 2014 / 9:06 AM

    Janna, thank you for such a delightfully funny post! I’m with ^Suzi^ — I had NO IDEA cigarettes were that expensive, and I still don’t know what LTD is. Good thing I don’t have those habits, even if they help you make it thru the holidays, ha!

    I try not to stress out at this time of year. Yes, certain things must be done — buying presents, baking, attending church, etc. — but others can be dropped. Perhaps we all should cut each other a bit of slack, understanding just how BUSY we all can be, and refuse to feel miffed when we don’t get the number of Christmas cards we once did!!

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:28 PM

      LTD is a brand of Canadian whiskey, so I discovered. It was considerably less expensive than cigarettes, although I don’t remember the exact cost now. Oh, speaking of Christmas cards… mine will be lucky to reach recipients by the new year at the rate I’m going 🙂

  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 9, 2014 / 9:51 AM

    Ha.. yes some drinks can be needed.. but for sure using another persons bankcard is beyond what I would do… Cigarettes and whisky (had no clue what ltd was, I only drink scotch …). I could for sure live without that.

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:28 PM

      If I would’ve had the cash, I would’ve preferred to buy the stuff and settle up later, Bjorn 🙂

  5. Michael December 9, 2014 / 10:31 AM

    I don’t know what LTD is either. Life has many mysteries. Many mysteries indeed…

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:29 PM

      LTD is Canadian whiskey. There’s one mystery solved, Michael 🙂

  6. Widdershins December 9, 2014 / 1:36 PM

    Reminds me of a song … “Cigareets and Whusky an’ Wild, Wild Women. They’ll drive you crazy. They’ll drive you insane.”

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:30 PM

      Haha, I don’t know that song, Widdershins, but I’m imagining it to be a country song 🙂

  7. Carol Ann Hoel December 9, 2014 / 4:25 PM

    I think Nancy’s list is perfect. As always, what gets me through the holidays is knowing that it’s just a matter of time. One foot in front of the other, and keep laughing. Laughter is better than cigarettes and whiskey any day of the year. Your story helped me reach my laughter quota for today. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:31 PM

      I’m glad you found the humor in it, Carol Ann! My friends had a good laugh too.. imagining me in a liquor store buying whiskey. I don’t drink!

  8. pattisj December 9, 2014 / 11:44 PM

    Maybe she’s a regular and they know her name well, and she probably has a helper who she sends with the card, too. I knew cigarettes were expensive, but didn’t know they were that much, either. Just think of all the art supplies, birdseed, etc., I could buy with that! I need some ideas to get through holidays this year–hubby strained his back and is no help whatsoever! OK, he did hang the wreath on the door…

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:32 PM

      Well, it’s a small town, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she was well-known, Patti. I’m sorry about your husband’s back. I hope he recovers soon (so he can help deck the halls, haha!)

  9. GodGirl December 10, 2014 / 1:36 AM

    Haha, I love this (and found the story gripping). All the time I was wondering if you’d be caught. Maybe some whiskey to take the edge off the frayed nerves? It was quite an ask. I wonder how often the helper has to run that particular errand…

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:34 PM

      Ha! Didn’t think of dipping into the goods, GodGirl. I have no idea how often she had to replenish her stock. A few months ago, I saw her house was up for sale, so I don’t know what has happened to her.

  10. Kathy Combs December 10, 2014 / 8:32 AM

    LMAO!!!!!!!!!!! This is priceless and I would have felt the same way. For a while my husband had a credit card with his name that he insisted I use, which I did, freaking out every single time. I finally got one with my name on it for his account. So much less stress. LOL I can’t believe a carton of cigarettes cost that much! Holy cow! That is one expensive habit I am glad I don’t have! You have such a way of telling a story…just love it.♥

    • jannatwrites December 10, 2014 / 3:35 PM

      I’m not a dishonest person, so I was really sweating it because it just looked bad – shopping with another woman’s bank card! I haven’t tried to use my husband’s credit card – thankfully I do have my own because that would stress me out, too 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Kathy! As always, your comment made me smile.

  11. M_Elizabeth December 13, 2014 / 5:18 AM

    I loved this and I’m right there with you. I blame it on too much Law and Order. Lipton on the rocks made me laugh out loud…and thirsty! I’ll have to keep her plan tucked away if I ever need some assistance getting through anything except I’d add some orange marmalade to the mix. I love that stuff.

    • jannatwrites December 15, 2014 / 10:29 PM

      I love Lipton on the rocks, Mairzeebp! I think the marmalade would’ve been better than the whiskey, but that’s just me 🙂

  12. Tessa December 13, 2014 / 9:25 PM

    Here’s where we differ. I couldn’t have used someone else’s card even with permission. I think I would have a panic attack if not a full bloom heart attack LOL! I hate the holidays and just want them over. Drinking my way through sounds interesting, but my meds wouldn’t mix too well. Merry Christmas! 🙂

    • jannatwrites December 15, 2014 / 10:32 PM

      Haha, it was quite stressful, but thankfully, not quite heart attack stressful 🙂 Good idea not to mix meds and alcohol, Tessa! I hope you have a merry Christmas, too.

  13. Sarah Ann December 18, 2014 / 5:39 AM

    I love how you’ve turned your good deed into a nightmare fiction scenario – being manacled by police and hauled from the store for credit card fraud. I think you’re right and you might not be cut out for crime, but you could use this experience to write very well about someone who is drawn into crime reluctantly.

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 10:49 AM

      Interesting idea, Sarah Ann. I’m not good at anything dishonest. My lies are so easy to see through!

  14. frederick anderson December 19, 2014 / 8:59 AM

    Hibernation is my answer. The ideal holiday for me is sleep – lots and lots of sleep!

    • jannatwrites December 20, 2014 / 11:59 PM

      Hibernation sounds like a pretty good plan, Frederick! Hope it serves you well this holiday season 🙂

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