“We’re Late! We’re Late! For A Very Important Date!”
December 23, 2022. The twenty-one hour-marathon from California to our Florence VRBO was one week away. We’d been counting the days until the limo would appear in our driveway to whisk us away to the airport, the airplane, and the city we love – Florence.
Finally, the day arrived. We hugged our dogs and took one last look at the spacious house and newly landscaped backyard with an aviary, pizza oven, and cabana we’d be leaving for a 500 square foot apartment with a dish rack, living room sofa, and teensy loft bedroom.
While Jim and the limo driver discussed gasoline prices, I imagined the chaos we’d be facing in the next few hours. Check-in at LAX would be a slam dunk. We’d meet a Lufthansa employee dressed in a signature blue uniform accented with a yellow scarf. She’d examine our passports, and boarding passes, put a tag on the luggage then drop the bags on a conveyor belt. I’d note the large billboard prohibiting passengers from bringing items like explosives, flammables, box-cutters, and firearms on board. Jim interrupted my daydreaming with two sentences.
“Get ready to rock and roll, Janie. The Bradly terminal’s a block away.”
Check-in? No problem. Luggage? No problem. Security was the part of flying I disliked most. What would I have to take off, take out or drop in the trash before I stepped into the imaging machine? During my last flight, the attendant picked the woman in front of me for a random search. What if I was today’s victim? He’d open my suitcase, and prowl through my tennis shoe collection, underwear, and English biscuits. I’d wish my suitcase belonged to someone else.
We drank champagne before take-off, had lunch, and watched movies for eleven hours.
I wasn’t worried about making the connection from Frankfurt to Florence because the LAX gate attendant said we’d have plenty of time because the terminals were in the same building. What she didn’t realize was (1) Jim had back and neck surgeries, so running wasn’t an option (2) the terminals weren’t in the same building. They were miles apart (3) Frankfurt airport was like Times Square on New Year’s Eve: Ear-splitting racket in a hundred languages.
The first stop was the A terminal fifty gates away. Our final destination was the B terminal, thirty gates away. The elevator that would take us to the B terminal went under the parking garage before another marathon hike from B1 to B23. Holy Hell. It might be faster to walk to Florence.
Where’s a tram? A cart? Anything with wheels! This is Germany, for Pete’s sake!
I looked back at Jim, who was struggling to keep up. The look on his face wasn’t panic. It was resignation. The look on my face was disbelief. That attendant in LAX who told us the connecting flight was in the same terminal must have been drunk.
Finally, we made it to the aircraft and our seats. When the cheerful attendant offered champagne or orange juice. I asked for champagne. That glass isn’t nearly big enough. How about the whole bottle?
Little did we know, we made it, but our luggage didn’t. Shopping in Florence? How about a nap?