*please forgive the lack of pictures in my next couple of posts, but I must tell an important story to which there is no photographic evidence to be had!
I never ever thought I’d say I’d be happy to leave Europe, but I was ready. This was for several reasons: the unbearable heat, lack of a/c or slight breeze and sleepless nights in sweaty sheets. I think my happiness was also gently cradled in the fact that I wasn’t returning to Texas, but rather Montreal with my BFF, by way of New York.
Lana and I return together – first to Philadelphia, then changing – her on to a flight to Houston, me on to one bound for New York. The flight from Madrid-Philly was a disaster. I woke up at Lana’s piso feeling like I had the flu, and was sick the entire flight. At least my body waited for all the fun to die before exacting revenge. I slept most of the time, dozing in and out of that dumb movie with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell. And this was 3 hours into the flight because, of course, their Direct TV was not functioning. And we took off 30 minutes late. And I saw the flight attendant kick a puppy.
We arrive back on US soil and are welcomed with open arms. And by open arms I mean barking orders and rough interrogation at customs as to what exactly my travels were about. Ahh it’s nice to be back home. How different from Spain, when upon arrival the customs agent simply glanced at my passport, stamped it, and I carried on with a “bienvenidos” bouncing off my back. I was in white man’s country now – time to leave my Latino illusions behind, as well as any expectations for manners.
We have to claim our bags, go through customs, recheck our bags, and take countless elevators and airport shuttles to get to our next gates. After a tearful goodbye, I arrive at the gate right at boarding time. But…what is this? I see not my gate nor flight number! Am I lost? Am I confused? NO! I am flying US Airways! And so the story begins…
I walk up to a woman with a US Airways uniform. She doesn’t look up. I get her attention and politely show her my ticket, asking what I’m supposed to do, since apparently my gate and flight have been sucked into a vacuum. She glances at my ticket and tells me to go get in line “over there”. I look “over there”, and see a stagnant line of about 20 angry people. That isn’t going to work. I say “Look, I just need to know if my gate has changed. As you can see, I clearly do not have time to stand in line if I am to make my flight.”
“Your flight has been canceled.” I’m told abruptly. “Go stand in line to figure out your next move.”
Well. No reading between the lines on that one. I shuffle my sick self over to the line and listen with bemused indifference as one customer after another bitches out the woman at the desk who is only half heartedly paying attention while she focuses on something clearly more important on her computer. Facebook I think. I smugly smile. Don’t these fools know that you don’t get anything in life by being an ass? I am fully convinced I will be safe and sound on a flight in no time, by just sweetly stroking the ego of whomever I speak with.
I finally get to the front and confidently give her my widest, meekest smile. I kindly explain my situation to which she grabs my ticket, places it in a pile, and says I can take a bus they are chartering that leaves “soon.”
“I don’t know. Just wait in this general area and we will make an announcement when it’s here.”
“Well, what about another flight?”
“The next flight to La Guardia doesn’t leave until tomorrow morning.”
(to be continued…)