Saturday, July 7, 2012

Anticipation

Well that was harrowing. I got to BKK airport ( don’t ask me to spell it) in ample time. The trip, which with Bangkok’s infamous traffic can usually take anywhere from and hour to an hour and half took, no joke, 30 min. My taxi has a NOZ tank, no lie, little dials and gauges on the dashboard and a loaded tank the size of my bag in the trunk and everything. Only in Thailand.

Check in however was nerve racking. It always makes me nervous to fly back into the States, there are way more security restrictions and somehow, even though I’ve been a good girl, I always feel like I’ve done something wrong.

So I get up to the counter and they weigh my bags, all good, under the limit ( miraculously), then the concerned face. Then the phone calls, then whispered Thai, some smiles, some “ give me just a minute”. I start to sweat, I’m tapping my feet. Three more phone calls, a manager comes over. Half an hour later the guy tells me. “ I can give you your boarding pass to Amman, but not to New York.” I think my heart stopped for a minute. Don’t cry, I told myself, keep it together, it’s going to be ok.
“ Why not? Is everything ok?”.
“ It’s because you’re flying back into the U.S, they have this very complicated form I have to fill out and the computer isn’t accepting the information.”
“ Um..”
“ I’ve tried everything. You’ll have to fly to Amman and get your boarding pass at the transit desk there. You’re bags are fine though, they’ll go right through to New York, you don’t have to worry about them.”
Great.

Sleep is my oldest defense mechanism, probably a bad one if a bear is trying to eat me, but when my brain is trying to eat me it works like a charm. I slept all the way here, all 8hrs and tried not to worry that I would be denied boarding and stuck in Jordan.

I get to the transit desk in Amman and the man in line behind me tells me it happens, that it’s an exercise in trust. I trusted. I got my boarding pass, now just a 5 hour layover and a 11 hour flight to go.

Even through my panicked haze, which has done nothing to help my Bangkok belly, I noticed how beautiful the sand dunes were at dawn, such a lovely moonscape palate.

With my boarding pass in hand, now I can focus on more important things.

When I was 16 I went and spent 4 weeks in Scotland doing a writing program at the University of St. Andrew’s. On my way back I ended up sitting next to a man, who looking  back at it must have been around my age now. It could have been awkward if I told him my age but I lied and said I was 22 so we spent 6 hours in deep discussion about life and it’s meaning.

He had been in Ireland for the last 6 months he told me. He had been sent there for work just weeks after his wedding and his wife was, for work related reasons, unable to join him. So the first half a year of his marriage he was in another country.

I know her name was Heather because at some point I was describing how much I loved the Scottish heath and moors and he got starry eyed. “ Sorry,” he told me, “ You just said Heather and that’s my wife’s name.”

When the plane got close to Boston he started getting jittery. I asked him if he was excited, if he would be the first guy off the plane. “ No”, he replied thoughtfully, “ I’m savoring the anticipation. I want to be the last person off the plane.”

 To the best of my knowledge he was, he remained firmly in his seat until after I had left and I never saw him again. But that conversation has always stuck with me. Like hell do I intend to be the last person off the plane if I can help it, but the moral of the story is a good one.

Savor the anticipation.



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