Yesterday I wrote a test-drive post, which has made me in the mood to tell you more about some of those things I touched on in that post. This one is to answer the travel question.
On our last big trip, to Italy two years ago, I made Doug sign a piece of paper on the flight home that said, “I, Doug, hereby certify that I am never travelling again.” That was on the flight that was cancelled, well the one we ran to with three minutes to spare because our flight had been cancelled. Wait, let me start at the beginning.
In general, I was already souring on travel before this trip. I miss my piano, my friends, and my cat when I’m on gone (not necessarily in that order). Travelling has always been a trade-off between fun and hassle. When I was working it was worth the hassle to get to spend quality time with Doug. Now I get near full-time quality time with Doug, so travelling to do something I can already do for free without the hassle is less appealing. Not to mention the aforementioned friends, cat and piano.
This trip started with the usual discomforts of air travel, hassles of connections, and time-zone-change exhaustion. After spending two hours getting from gate to curbside at the Rome airport, in my jet-lagged haze, I left my purse behind in the taxi from the airport to the hotel. You know, the purse with my wallet, phone, and both of our passports. My phone ringer was off and the battery was dead anyway, so I couldn’t call my purse to get the attention of the driver. Luckily, I had arranged the ride through the hotel when I booked the room, so, they were able to track down the right taxi company who called the driver who brought my purse back within the hour. But that didn’t stop us from worrying and then ruminating on the what-if’s all afternoon.
After two delightful days in Rome, we were flying to Brindisi for our organized bike trip through Puglia. I’ll spare you the play-by-play on the three separate delays of our flight so I can get right to the escalator story. After we all finally queued up for the flight, a fourth announcement about our flight was made. We would now be leaving from a different gate.
The agitated mob now made its way to the new gate. At the end of the terminal we all stepped onto an escalator that would take us down to a gate where a bus would drive us out to the plane. As soon as an older Italian woman stepped on the escalator behind Doug, she promptly fell down and rolled between Doug and me on the escalator. As Doug and I tried unsuccessfully to lift her, her friend, who was in front of me, tried to reach back and help, and fell herself.
So I tried to lift the woman in front, Doug tried to lift the woman in back, all as they are each yelling in Italian. As the bottom of the escalator approached, and visions of a massive pileup spun in my head, I gave up and jumped over the first woman to the landing. Then Doug leapt over the two women to the landing. By this time, everyone behind us was running UP the down escalator away from the melee.
An airport worker raced over and hit the emergency stop button (why didn’t I think of that?!?), but nothing happened! I can’t even tell you how it was this ended because I was in such a state of disbelief. I mean they were both ok, but I don’t even know how!
The bike trip through Puglia was fun, but we already established that vacation is fun. What we are talking about now is the trade-off between fun and hassle.
At the end, after enjoying Rome for another couple days (yes fun, again not the point), we took another taxi out to the airport. Doug somehow misplaced the 50 Euro bill he withdrew from the ATM the night before, so we didn’t actually have enough money to even pay the taxi driver the full fare. No, they don’t take credit cards. We tried to supplement the difference with American dollars, but he was not interested. He said it’s fine, just give him what Euros we had.
Yes, I know this also turned out to be a happy story, but you know that sinking feeling before you know it’s all going to work out? That’s the one I’m tired of having by now.
But we must do it once more. Because the flight from Rome to San Francisco was delayed. It had been cancelled the day before because of equipment problems. They tried to fix it the problem, and Doug overheard one of the mechanics telling one of the airline workers they need to cancel this flight too. The fix was unsuccessful.
We wound up second in the line to make alternate plans at the gate agent, since Doug had overheard the conversation before the official announcement was made. And since we had no checked luggage, we were able to get moved to a different airline’s flight six gates away that was boarding NOW and connecting through Vancouver.
So yes, it all worked out, and Doug got the excitement of sitting behind Steve Kerr on the flight home. But still it was very easy to get Doug to sign the never-travelling-again pledge.
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