I used to have a “Someday” list of things I wanted to do, places I wanted to see. And many of those things have been checked off: Grand Canyon, New Zealand, the Lake District of England, the Dera in India. Now “Someday” has become “Now or Never” and never is often the preferred choice. I’m surprised at how okay I am with that.
I never got to see Paris, and I still could, I guess. But I wanted to see Paris in April, at nineteen and in love–with a frenchman. So that window is pretty much closed. Now the idea of a transatlantic flight, negotiating the Metro with a suitcase, finding food and accommodations in a language I don’t understand sounds like the vacation from hell. I’d sooner settle into my new french terry bathrobe with a cup of tea and watch Rick Steves on PBS and sleep in my own bed. That’s how old I am.
Last week I flew to Denver for a book club event and a chance to play with Polly. It was lovely. I planned carefully including clearing my purse of all extraneous cards and detritus, taking just my major visa, driver’s license, medical cards and walking around cash. The afternoon I arrived I got an email saying my credit card had been compromised they were canceling it and sending me a new one. Okay, I can live without it for three days. Then I wanted to buy Polly’s birthday present while I was with her and we headed for Costco to replace her smoothie machine. No Costco card. No problem, they could check my number and I paid cash–most of it. On Friday we were headed for the airport for the return flight, stopping for a leisurely breakfast, when I got a text that my flight had been delayed two hours. Okay, waiting I can do. She dropped me off at the Southwest Airlines door and I checked my bag outside. “Well it looks like you’ll miss your connecting flight in LAX,” said the young man at the podium. “Go talk to Gwen at the far counter and she will reschedule you.” But Gwen at the far counter, after scrolling and clicking for an alarmingly long time was coming up with no seats from LAX to Tucson that day. There was one possible seat on an overbooked flight and I hung my hopes on that. Yes, my son PJ lives in Los Angeles, and he was in TUCSON taking care of my Furries.
Eventually I got out of Denver to LAX and on a plane to Tucson. I called PJ to tell him I’d be in about 9:15 p.m. and if he waited in the cel phone lot I’d call him when I had my bag. I sagged with relief and settled into my middle seat. We landed in Tucson and I watched a hundred or so bags fall out of the chute, but no little red zipper bag. So I stood in line to explain to the lost luggage guy that it was a 21” RedCross with my new polar bear pajamas and four copies of Dark Bread & Dancing with my name on them inside.
I pulled out my phone to alert PJ in the cel phone lot–and my phone was dead. The cord to recharge it was in my suitcase. The lost luggage guy was sympathetic and thought he might have a cord in his office. “Go see if your son is driving around looking for you,” he suggested. “If not, come back and knock on the office door and we’ll set you up.” PJ was not driving around. There was no sign of him in the cel phone lot either. By the time I returned to the lost luggage guy there was no one in sight. The airport looked shut down for the night.
I reviewed my situation: I was at the end of an already 16 hour day in the abandoned airport at 10:30 at night with no suitcase, no cash, no credit card, no phone and no phone numbers since they are all in my dead phone.
But a knight with a shiny badge, a security guard, came down the escalator. He thought he had a charge cord in his car that would work. “Wait right here,” he said. “I’ll be right back.” He was, it did, and PJ was waiting at the cel phone lot. “I just got here,” he said. “I took a wrong turn and ended up on Benson Highway heading for the other side of town.”
And I should go to Paris with adventures like this at home?
Coming of Age by Rosemary Rawson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.