Be Careful What You Wish For….

When I left for the airport in Bordeaux yesterday morning I was (of course) thinking about my blog.  'Maybe something interesting will happen traveling,' I thought.  The gods of travel mischief heard and answered. 
It snowed in London Monday morning.  Yes, that is correct.  Snow.  In April.  When I checked in for my flight I was told that the plane would be an hour late….they thought.  I quietly expressed concern about making my flight to the U.S.  "No problem", I was told.  I then asked if I could check my bag through to the U.S.  That answer was just a simple "no".  As long as I had the time I took myself off for one last pan au chocolat and cafe creme.  Two hours later I was on my way, minus two magazines.  Whenever I travel I take the accumulated stack of unread magazines with me, leaving them like a trail of breadcrumbs as I finish.  An eight inch stack leaves the house and, with luck, the last one stays on the final leg of the flight home.
I arrived in London with a full two hours to spare before my next flight.  After the ten minute walk to customs, 5 minutes to fill out the form and get through Immigration I was at the baggage carousel with 1:45 to go.  Fifteen minutes later I am still staring at the clock.  Another 10 minutes go by before we finally hear the buzzer….and all the kids who have been playing on the belt finally get knocked off.  My bag was the last to appear.  I have 1:10 to make the flight. 
Telling myself not to worry, I grabbed the bag and took off at a run to the train, wait two minutes, take the three minute ride to the other terminal and arrive at the check-in counter exactly an hour before scheduled departure.  I was comforted by the fact that so many other people were still in line.  (Stupid me….Did I think that maybe it was for another flight? No!)  I patiently waited in line another 10 minutes.  When I finally handed over my passport I was told that I was not 'in the system'  I argued for a bit, then showed her my e-mail documents.  "Oh", she said, "that flight….it's closed."  I quietly expressed my dismay, commenting on the snow, delayed flight, slow baggage, ancestry, hair color, etc.  She suggested I talk to the ticket counter 'over there'.  Off I go to the ticket counter where I was asked why I didn't go directly to the flight.  I pointed out my bag.  I was asked why I hadn't thought to check it through (see above).  After another 5 minutes of pleasant discussion and a few phone calls it was determined that I, could, indeed, still make the flight.  Now that the possibility was established I went back to the first person who proceeded to check me in.  Me, not my bag.  That I had to take to another 'zone' in order to get it on the flight.  I found the zone, handed my bag over to the nice man and was told to hurry along!  Thank you, I shall.
Next, it was through security.  I managed to plead and apologize my way to the front of the line (Blessings upon you, benevolent strangers!), but the gods were not through with me yet.  After my cabin bags went through x-ray I was chosen for a random bag search and body frisk.  No sympathy for the possible lost connection, although by now I was pretty sure they wouldn't take my checked bag without me, so I relaxed a bit.  Another 15 minute brisk walk to the gate, where I arrived just as they were paging me.  Finally, I am settled in my seat, pull out my stack of magazines and look forward to 9 hours of quiet reading, napping and recovery (maybe a glass of wine?).  At long last, a bit of luck – the seat next to me is empty……but wait, here comes someone…yes, he sits next to me.  Nice man, but I always worry when people have no reading material and say they don't watch movies.  He talked the entire way.  My magazines went untouched….I'm so tired….. 

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