Flights have always excited me. Their majestic appearances, with an effervescent aura of happy promise of a far-away euphoric land out there always made me smile. Thought of that land, somehow always seemed better than the land here. Immaterial of where the ‘here’ is. But, you see, although flights always excite me, flying does NOT.
Every time I had to travel, I inevitably get a bad case of extreme anxiety, imagining all the possible things that could potentially go wrong. I catch myself obsessively checking my bag for the supposedly misplaced passport, which always greeted me from right where I snugly packed it. I check with equal obsessiveness, my boarding pass. I mean, God forbid, what if I lost it or misplaced it, in-between the efforts of opening my bag to check my passport for the one hundredth time. Well, you get the idea. The only thing I find motivating in the flying part of any journey from destination A to destination B is the chance to observe various people and this time was no different.
Departure check in was a breeze, everyone were very friendly and visibly curious about my appearance. I guess I would be too. I mean, other than Bono and Johnny Depp, I haven’t seen anyone else sporting the colored glass look. Oh! Wait I also know my good friend’s mom who sported this look, who also happens to be my current style-inspiration. Then again none of the airport staff knew her so I understand the curious looks and nod with a smile in acknowledgement! I had to take my glasses off to prove that the slightly scared looking, oiled pigtail hair lady in the passport picture was indeed me. But then, when they confirmed the genuineness of my identity, they complimented my glass! Woot! 🙂
What transpired at the interconnecting flight airport, was of a totally different genre. Flight reached there much earlier than scheduled time, but folks at the boarding gate refused to let us hang out in the area. Nudging us to visit a shopping area in another terminal at yet another gate. For those of you that don’t know me, unless shopping meant window shopping at sunglass stores and sipping espressos in any cafe, I couldn’t be anymore uninterested. But, I also happen to dislike sitting still and contemplating on my scheduled connecting flight. You know, which in all probabilities involve nonstop checking for my passport and boarding pass, with an incessant fear of having lost it all, every-five-minutes! Not appealing.
So, off I went to terminal tres, searching for ‘shops’. Oh! there they were! lots of pretty bottles of expensive perfumes, more prettier and much more expensive liquors, one euro water bottles(yay!) and loads and loads of Tobblerones. Of course, you all know what I bought, and that really doesn’t matter anyways. What matters is the journey to the terminal tres and what happened prior to my water bottle and food spending splurge.
There was this fancy connecting train that took us from one terminal to another, the ride which felt like a small journey to another city in itself! Onward-bound to shops, I jumped hopped onto one of the trains. Of course there were two of them, one for each direction. The one which I rode, had just me and this other confused lady who kept looking all around her, trying to make sense of what she was reading in the train posters but unable to comprehend. She was visibly confused and that look on her face was something I could totally relate to. That look, is my passport-probably-lost-hence-my-life-is-doomed look. So, you know what happened next, I kept looking at her and then away, hesitant to approach but eager to help. She kept looking at me too with fear and hesitation too I suppose. But she did approach me and asked for assistance and boy! am I glad she did! She didn’t speak English, what she spoke I had no clue. Given my limited linguistic abilities, am not surprised I didn’t recognize the language. What I do know however is dumb charade and am pretty good at that. Those supreme skills of mine were how I found that she was trying to get to terminal uno, gate IV but was in the terminal tres, shopping plaza train. Yikes!
We both stepped out, took a round trip, went to terminal uno, all the while doing this funky dance of, not here -go there, go right-wait that’s left, go that-a-way instead, in all animated-tugging her jacket and holding her hand walking and running to be there on time manner! Then, when we finally saw her gate, I was more relieved than I usually am when I find my (unlost) passport and that’s really saying something!
I happily clapped along and walked back to try to get food. Now I am running short on time and am in hurry to get to my terminal tres but had to eat in the terminal uno. Wait, I am there so what’s the big deal you ask? Safety check-again, just so I can eat! Disheartened I ask one of the ladies that work there who looked kind and she said, ‘Ah! No worries, just put your handbag on one box,and get it from the other side’ piece-o-cake. Now rejuvenated, with the promise of quick food, I put my bag in the box on one side, when I try to get it on the other, I couldn’t. I was patted down which normally, is totally fine and I expect it when I go to my gate to board, not when I try to grab a bite to eat in the popular shopping place that I was recommended to go to. This time the patting was more like, you get your 15mins free deep tissue massage, while I ask your dress be lifted, shoes be taken off, socks be felt kind, not something I look forward to, especially when I didn’t pay the money to my physio massage therapist. Mildly irritated, surprisingly refreshed, anxiously hungry to go back to my terminal, I eat, I go, I catch my train back to terminal tres and my gate and guess what? Safety check-again! When it rains it pours and by now am a pro!
In my terminal, at my scheduled gate, I happen to converse with a fellow passenger, who hurt his feet on his way here. His pain only kept getting worse by the minute and poor thing was so much in pain. Call it karma, I sat next to him and could hear him murmur. Came to know that he wasn’t even given a pain killer to contain his pain. My mommy brain in full gear, I had the presence of mind to ask a sweet coffee shop lady to spare some ice and she spared a lot! Kind one. Luckily that helped bring down his pain quite a bit and we had them provide him wheel chair assistance, albeit after repeated prodding and requesting. One argument of theirs, just to explain their take on the topic, ‘ but you didn’t ask for wheelchair when you booked, so we can’t give you one midway’ seriously!? Well, I better plan ahead of time for the muscle spasm I might get when I next book their flight eh!
Oh well! All that matters now is that, I am where I wanted to be, with the knowledge that my dumb-charade partner will certainly be where she wanted to be and our dear fellow passenger brother, got his wheel chair and was smiling when I last saw him and waved bye.
Chose to jot down, typedown rather, my experience during this present continuous really bumpy, NH 64 ride back home without music and two people arguing instead.
Takeaways from my experiences so far, all’s well that ends well and everything happens for a reason! Flight names, airline names, terminals and gates are all imaginary. Am pretty sure those are immaterial too, as it’s my experience and the lessons I learn from them that always count and I am always richer for all of my experiences!