A few weeks ago my sister Ann and her husband left for Italy sending me some desperate messages about the brutalities, demands, irregularities, inanities and misinformation that surrounded their 3+ hour experience at O’Hare. They did make their flight but not without any number of anxiety-provoking indignities. Then my friend Karen left for Italy, receiving an email in the middle of the night that she needed a specific kind of visa to enter the country and spent 4 hours in the early morning online to resolve the issue.
See for these people this is off putting, slightly unbalancing, disturbing. and frightening. I know this feeling. i embody it. This is how I experience all travel so as my date of departure loomed, I arose ANXIOUSLY everyday checking each and every email Air France was sending every 40 minutes with revised updates to updates. In the end, as I understood it (I MADE EXCEL SPREAD SHEETS, for chrissake) I’d need my passport, of course, my ticket, naturally, a signed and sworn statement that I did not have covid, proof of my covid vaccination status and a covid test within 12 minutes of departure—but the test would have to be an AFrBi39H1hn, or a M17yyu89kl or Fd23 antigen test if administered on a Tuesday or Thursday in months beginning with the letter R. The day before departure I received an email telling me I would need to arrive at 3pm for an 8 pm flight!!!!!!!!! I remained calm. Or rather as calm as I can remain. My driver could not come sooner so I would be arriving well after (and hour and a half after the recommended 3 pm arrival date.) I breezed into terminal 4:30 pretending a calm I did not feel.
Not. A. Soul. In. Front. Of. Me. No one. The clerk had to have a large man lift my luggage (I am so sorry about that) onto the conveyor belt since it was as tall as she was and weighed more the I did. She took the vast supply of documentation, approximately a small forest worth of paper and then pushed it back at me with only the mildest look of annoyance. “We don’t need this stuff.” she smiled sweetly. “Oh,” I said just as sweetly, “your 65,000 emails tell a different story,” hissing through my teeth. “Oh, hahahaha. You’re ready to go Mr Dillon.” And that was that. It was 4:30, I’d survived the one and a half hour anxious sprint down there only to now spend 3 and a half hours waiting (the security line didn’t take 2 minutes—go figure). It was fine. The flight was fine. We landed early. The taxi ride was lovely, the hotel had my reservations.
And then this. Oh joy oh rapture. Paris.
Be sure to listen to her sweetness and my fine French accent.