Barry is taking me to the airport. It’s been an easy winter and in a couple of days they are predicting weather in the 70s. Today, however, because some storm from somewhere has fallen upon us, it is going to be at its coldest, windiest, and wettest around 8:00pm, for my flight departure. By tomorrow, when I will be in Venice, Italy (where it is rainy and cold), it will be lovely in Boston.
Because it is Friday rush hour during bad weather, the traffic is snarled, but we have left enough time for that. Just as we are ensconced in a long queue to get on the highway I realize that I have left my laptop power cord at home. I am a person who is tethered to her computer. If I am not out of the house, I am on my computer. Period. Writing is something I do daily. Facebook is something I do daily. My job is something I do online. Really, I can’t live one day without my computer. What to do?
If we head back home (20 minutes?), will we be too late to get back to the airport in time? We debate and agonize as we drive, and soon we’re already on the highway. A store, Barry suggests, perhaps you can get one at the airport? Or along the way? I’m sweating, hyperventilating. We get off the highway and head for a mall where I know there is a Staples. I run into the store and grab a worker, “Help me!” She takes me to the power cord aisle. There’s one with 6 possible hook-ups for the various brands, mine included. It’s $60. I pay it. We race back to the car. There’s an easy entrance back onto the highway and I get to the airport on time.
A young woman checks me into Lufthansa. She asks me how I am and I tell her my tale and ask her for a place to try out the power cord to see if it works. I sure don’t want to try to buy one in Italy, which will have the wrong electrical plug for back home. And I don’t want to take up Barry’s offer to rush to my apartment and back to the airport to try to get me mine in time. She closes her line, takes the box with the cord as I pull out my laptop. She figures it out, we power it up, and it all works just fine.
I manage to get through a security line that snakes the length of the terminal, Turns out that today starts college Spring break. This forces me to run like crazy to the gate in time to board my plane. I ask the Lufthansa woman there, Do I have time to pee? She says, We’re boarding in 6 minutes and points down a hall. I’m off in that direction and I keep following the signs and following the signs and still no restrooms in sight. Instead, I return to the desk in time for an announcement that the plane is arriving 15 minutes late. A quarter of an hour later they tell us it’ll be another 15 minutes. Eventually they tell us the plane’s arrived, but it’ll take 15 minutes to clean it.
Suddenly they want us to board from the other side of the gate. A college guy pushes into me and I stagger back against my carry-on suitcase. I’m trying to catch myself and he’s saying, “Oh damn, sorry, sorry about that” – but not reaching out a hand and not doing anything to get me back on my feet. Luckily I recover my balance, but the backs of my calves are bruised and it was a close call. I’m old enough that I’m very scared of falling.
At last we board. Miracle of miracles, I seem to have an empty seat beside me in an otherwise crowded flight. Could this be a good sign that I’ll make my transfer connection in Munich after all? We sit. The pilot comes on the loud speaker and talks at length in German. Someone follows him and translates quite briefly in English – and this sets the pattern – that we’re now in a line for de-icing. De-icing! Later we’re told we’re still in a line for de-icing. Finally they start de-icing us. Then we feel the plane move. Turns out we’re being towed out of the de-icing area because some passenger didn’t turn up and we must return to the gate to find and remove his bags. Each announcement involves a lengthy German explanation that sounds like – HeinEintz’olk Vine Schpizen A'DrueykinRoizen EikenFrueshine Schmutz-whatever, followed, in English, by a cryptic, “We are being towed back to the gate.”
That done, we are back in line for de-icing. And then still in that line. At long last we are de-iced. I can actually watch it being done by hand out the window – a weird ritual. And now, the Captain is apparently explaining, we can finally take off – once, that is, our turn comes up in the line for the runway.
Soon we are actually in the air. Having been relieved of angsting over our extremely late departure, I am free to angst over my connection in Munich, a place I would not like to stay longer than necessary, due to a residual ethnic memory. I’m afraid I have expressed my concern about the transfer too many times to the annoyed flight attendants who assure me I’ll make it, without presenting any supporting evidence.
We de-plane, but are simply standing on the runway at some distance from any buildings, and must board one of a variety of buses awaiting us. The bus takes a long leisurely circular route to the terminal. I’m shitting myself. A blond blue-eyed German man says to me, “You’ll get there and so will your luggage. I travel for a living and this is the most efficient airport in the world.” I believe him and am immediately calmer.
I do get there just in time and my bag does turn up in Venice with me. And I have brought the right outlet adaptor to use on my new computer chord, and really, that’s what truly counts.