black cashmere neck scarf, gifted
from a genuine Arabian princess;
irreplaceable, and looks great with my
sport coat, by the way. Arrrrgh!
Halloween gremlins at work again.
About face and retrace. It’s not far at
all, but nothing. No one has seen it,
and time is ticking.
OK, I’ll check back with lost and
found on my return – a long shot at
best. My heart sinks again. But, France
and AMG beckon – back to security.
There’s this new-fangled Clear service,
which I get for free as a hi-hondo
frequent flyer, but no more pre-check.
No, that’s going to be $80 now and
I haven’t paid up yet. Seems like just
another scam to squeeze our wallets
to me. Very few travelers, so guess
what? One line. One long, slowww line.
Shoes off, laptop out, empty
everything from pockets. I got to
avoid this for years, always pre-check;
it’s random, my eye. Grrrrr. OK, step
up for the sensors, oops, forgot my
wallet in my back pocket; toss it in the
little tray, return, hands in the air. Out
the other side there’re more folks
than on the way in, another sign the
travel gremlins are testing my
fraying patience once again. My stuff
finally rolls out, and I grab it and
zoom for the train to concourse E.
Doing the math, it’s still looking
good, unless something goes wrong,
goes wrong, goes wrong.
About C gates, the phone rings,
unknown caller. “Hello, Randy? You’ve
left your wallet at security,” says a
helpful TSA voice. “Whaaa? Noooo!
I mean, thank you!” Oh, lordy. I make
like The Flash to the returning train,
blazing through the closing doors, no
contact with a millimeter to spare,
bulging briefcase and all, to the
wide-eyed shock of the innocent
young woman inside. Just like Will
Smith in Independence Day.
Grab my wallet, shower gratitude,
sprint back to the train, and ride slowly
along, banging head against tram
window. Now we’re in real trouble.
Time oozes as if coming from Dali‘s
drooping clocks. E gates, doors open,
vault two-story escalator. Dead run to
E10, panting, sweating (good workout,
anyway). Door closed. Just. Merciful
agent says she can get me in a coach
seat, I say let’s do it, if the airplane door
hasn’t yet been closed. I cling to my
last shred of hope. She calls down, no
answer. Says “Hmmm.” Tries again. No
answer. Agent number two comes up.
Runs back down. Nope, closed. Gremlins
win. But I fought the good fight.
You’d think with almost two million
miles on this airline and a 7,500
Daimler-dollar business-class ticket,
that maybe they could crack that door
for just one more desperate fool, but
no. Done deal. It’s all over but the
crying and apologizing.
But it’s OK, folks. Delta put me on
the next available flight and I’ll be
there in time for dinner. Just. Meals
are long in France, by the way, so if
I miss a course or two, it’ll be no big
deal. Seems the Daimler/AMG folks
build a few hours of cushion on their
end, too, just for gremlin-plagued
goofs like me.
“Doing the math, it’s still looking
good, unless something goes
wrong, goes wrong, goes wrong”
Even the best laid
travel plans can
go awry during