, , ,

We can’t board the flight on time for some reason and then when we do we can’t leave on time because of paperwork issues but don’t worry we’ll still get in early.

I’m pleasantly surprised as I have a window seat and the aisle is only one seat away.  My seat mate is a pouty, disaffected teenage girl who clearly was hoping for someone other than me to be camped next to for the next 7 hours.  Hey, guess what?  I was hoping for someone other than you to be sitting next to me for the next seven hours too.  We’ll survive.

Finally at 7:26 pm our flight is wheels up.  We circle out over suburban Philadelphia and as we climb and head east I’m counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.  I turn on the GPS screen on my inflight, in set, in front of me TV.  It’s touch screen but it’s not responding to my touch and all I can do is flip between the menu and movie previews.  I soon give up and turn the damn thing off.  Meanwhile, my seat neighbor is listening to Sgt. Pepper on her TV.  I decide that she’s really ok.

I sneak a look between the seats in front of me and that passenger is watching ” Angels with Dirty faces” which starred James Cagney as Rocky the gangster before he was Admiral Halsey and Pat O’Brien as Father Jerry either before or after he Knute Rockne.  You know the movie where Ronald Reagan on his deathbed as George Gipp says : Win one for the Gipper.”  Quick sidebar distraction…

I’m playing an open mic once and I play ” As Time Goes By” which is from the movie ” Casablanca.”  I always provide a bit of background to the songs I sing.

Every song has a story.  Where you were when you first heard it, who you were with, who wrote and so forth.  So I say in way of presenting a movie fact that Ronald Reagan was offered the role of Rick but turned it down.  Bogart took the role and ran away with the movie.  I think he also ran away with Ingrid Bergman too. One fellow in the audience says – ” That’s the only decision of Reagan’s I’ve ever agreed with.” Ba – dump.

Clearly, there is a vast library of films and music stored on a server somewhere on this plane but I can’t get to it without punching  a hole in the screen.  I pick up my book.

I’m reading a biography of Neil Armstrong which begins with his days as fighter pilot in Korea, his eventual landing on the moon, his retirement from the being an astronaut and his life following his historic adventure.  As I remember watching him step out on to the moon in July, 1969 I’m pretty engrossed in the saga.

I haven’t flown internationally in years so I’m stunned when a meal arrives.  The pasta is passable.  It’s like eating from doll house sized plates but a meal is a meal.  I have a backpack full of Clif Bars so I figure I’m good for a couple of hours until we land.  Will the Clif Bars get seized while I’m passing through customs?  Time will tell.

I do some quick math and figure I will have around 168 hours this week in Paris.  It turned out to be more but that’s another story for another day and I won’t name airline names unless they don’t re-imburse me for my extra hotel night and extra plane fare.  Then the gloves come off.

Their Facebook page is full of comments mostly about how travel plans were screwed over, how much extra money you cost me, how I wouldn’t fly with you if you were the last airline on earth and for the life of me I can’t understand how you people stay in business.  It’s a depressing read and leads me to think I’ll never see one nickel or one extra euro that I had to lay out.  You people…

The kid nods off, I fall asleep, Rocky gets the chair and soon the sky gets light and we’re over England and on our way to Paris.  I can’t actually see the ground below but the in flight map says we’re right over England.  I’m thinking Winston Churchill.

When France comes into view my first impression is the land is flat, green and and very rural.  I have no idea that CDG is 32 km from Paris.  I was warned that the airport is immense and a madhouse.  Is it ever.

Time to check the countdown timer I’ve installed on my desktop that indicates when  I can begin running again.  This is depressing.

If i can’t run for 6 weeks, maybe I shouldn’t have to work for 6 weeks, mow the lawn for 6 weeks, pay bills for 6 weeks or be in a good mood for the next 6 weeks neither.

We land.  The plane empties. The kid leaves.  The German cowboy leaves.  Mr and Mrs. exit the plane too.  His clothes still look wrong.  They look even worse now that he has slept in them while sitting up.  I can’t imagine how I look.  She stares straight ahead.  I assume that they are home.

We all get off  the plane.  I catch a glimpse of them at baggage claim.  I turn away for a second  to get my bag and they are gone.