This weekend my sister and I will be taking off from BWI for our annual pilgrimage to St. Paul, Minnesota. And I will be doing this cold turkey! I’m out of Valium and I draw the line at getting ploxed at nine-thirty on a Friday morning.
Each July we volunteer for this trial by airline to visit our beloved nephew and his family. They live in Thailand for ten months of the year and come home to Minnesota to visit parents and other assorted relatives for a rather short summer vacation. And as they spend about twenty-four hours in each direction in travel time with three young girls, it's hardly fair for old Aunties to insist they make another trek to good old Washington, DC. So old Aunties just bite the bullet and get on a damned plane.
Flying has become quite the ordeal, hasn't it? After spending an afternoon making calls to all parties involved in this adventure to make sure that the principals were all available for that week-end – nobody wants to fly to St. Paul only to find that St. Paul relations are elsewhere – I searched out the best itinerary and bought tickets on-line and sent the information to my sister. She called immediately to say, “We’re flying out of BWI and back into Dulles? Is that right?” No, of course, it isn't right. It’s just what I booked. I then spent another hour getting the mix-up straight with Delta, who were very helpful, actually.
Next come the logistics of getting to and from the airport and the hours of thought I need to put into packing. Why I need to put hours of thought into this, I have no idea. I just do. It’s only four days and I end up wearing the same two tops the entire time. But one needs to be prepared. Perhaps one will be invited to a ball at the governor’s mansion. It could happen.
The airport experience is a trip in itself; the check-in, the security line, getting the right shoes back on my feet, a quick Bloody Mary because by this time I don’t care anymore if it’s early morning, two hours shoved into a sardine tin next to a man who grumbles in his sleep, and Voila! We’ve arrived. Piece of apple pie. Can’t wait until next year. I think I’ll walk.