I started my trip with the same low level anxiety as always, repeating the litany of things I must remember: My car is parked in Row 3 south, four spaces from the entrance, the parking ticket is in the pocket with my AAA card. Do I have my plane ticket? Driver’s license? Meds? Credit Card? Phone? I have three things to keep track of: My purse, my carry-on, my suitcase. Check the suitcase. Done. Now I still have three things to keep track of : My purse, my carry-on, my boarding passes. What’s that gate number again? E23. E23, E23. One, two, three. I still have three things. How am I doing on time? Picture ID is out and ready.
Once not long ago these questions were routine and fleeting, part of the excitement of travel, anticipation of a new experience–England, New Zealand, India. But then there were two of us to remember things. Then I could whip my carry-on into the overhead bin without a thought.Then there was no security gauntlet.
Of course, now there are some compensations that come with age. I no longer have to take off my shoes to pass security. This trip I discovered they had given me a coveted “pre-chk” boarding pass that shifted me into the fast lane. I’d been “profiled” and achieved the security status of “certifiably harmless.”
In Phoenix I had twenty-five minutes to hit the restroom and get to the gate on another faraway concourse for the connecting flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I was halfway there, puffing along anxiously when a young man came along with an empty wheelchair. He picked me out of the crowd and said, “Would you like a ride to your gate?” “Yes!” Even a few years ago I would have waved him off disdainfully. Now I was grateful.
I had another hour or so in the Minneapolis airport before Cara could pick me up, which I spent happily with a sweet little lunch at the French Meadow Cafe, some actual shopping ( I found the perfect soft cuddly poncho for the chilly evenings I knew were coming.) and spent a half hour with Ralph, the delightful and entertaining shoeshine guy, who brought my scruffy boots back to gleaming newness.
It was a good trip (Good for a few more blogs, too. Watch this space.) full of family, hugs, old familiar streets. But, as much as I love them all, I’m happy to be back home with my furries, my own refrigerator, my own bathroom, my own remote, indulging in my idiosyncratic bad habits. It was Thanksgiving Day and I found some tamales in the freezer to have for supper. And just in the nick of time. My salsa level was getting dangerously low. I have much to be thankful for.