Thursday, April 17, 2008

La Grande Pomme

Imagine the following. Frenchy and are I on a flight from Barcelona to New York. I have to go for some meetings and he has just finished his last MBA class so it's time for a trip! Because I'm with Frenchy, all goes smoothly. No delays, no strikes, no lost baggage. In other words, nothing interesting AT ALL to write about my trip.

Frenchy seems to realize this as we are getting off the plane and so decides to leave his carry-on bag on board. Keep in mind that this is a carry-on that looks like so many other small black rolly suitcases that we purposely carried it on so it wouldn't be picked up accidentally by the wrong person at baggage claim. We go to our separate lines at immigration: me to the super speedy Americano line and him to his "Foreigners and Thus Clearly Terrorists and Other Scum" line. Which obviously moves a lot slower.

I have thus already pulled my bag off the carousel when I realize that I don't remember Frenchy pulling a wheelie bag behind him after we got off the plane. I jump up and down and finally spot him on the other side of the immigration plexiglass and then make the international sign for "WHERE IS YOUR BLACK ROLLY BAG???" He responds with the international facial gesture for "OH MY GOD THE BLACK ROLLY BAG!!!"

And there goes the smooth sailing. I run around frantically trying to explain my plight: I went through the line, I have my bag already, my toxic foreign (even worse... FRENCH!) boyfriend is still waiting in his line and forgot his bag on the plane, please help! Of course everyone is friendly, more or less. This IS America, after all. So they are rather kind as they pass me off from one person to the next. Meanwhile, Frenchy has gotten out of his Miscreants line and is asking some poor terrified woman ("Is that a TERRORIST accent???") how he can get his bag back. Which is clearly a bomb, after all.

Finally I manage to give Frenchy the frantic international hand gestures for "Get back in line, I have taken care of it," and he does as gestured and 15 minutes later is finally through immigration with a sheepish look on his face. Not 60 seconds later, a man in a JFK uniform comes toward us and says, "Sir? Ma'am? Your bag?" And Frenchy turns to me and says proudly, "See? I didn't even have to carry my own bag off the plane!"

Hmph. We've been on American soil for not more than 45 minutes and already Frenchy has made the system his own. Ten minutes later we're in a taxi to lower Manhattan, driven by a man who is nearly comatose. As tired as I am, I have to stay awake in case I have to pull a Jackie Chan and leap into the front seat and drive the car with my teeth.

Finally we arrive safe and sound at the Millenium Hilton, which was closed for a long time after the attack on 9/11. Having lived close enough to the towers to see people jump out on that beautiful late summer day, I had never felt the need to go down to Ground Zero to gawk at the gaping hole. So I'm a bit shocked when I open the curtains and look down at this.

But the thing is, I'm obsessed with construction sites. The bigger the better. So after 10 minutes or so of abject horror, I got over it and instead became rather obsessed with what each little ant-sized person was doing down there. Two guys just hose the whole area down. What a cool job!

And and it's so pretty. And loud. Those little tiny people can sure make a hell of a lot of noise. All. Night. Long. Yeesh!

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