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2005-01-20 - 10:44 p.m.

Christmas, Comair, and Chaos

After a thirty-day hiatus, I have returned to write a brief entry.

It has been difficult to upset me since the 26th of December - my problems seem inconsequential when I think of the people who lost homes, families, towns, lives.

K and I were stranded by the Comair flight cancellation fiasco over Christmas, and wound up spending our evening helping two tiny little Italian grandmas from Palermo find their way through the mess at John F. Kennedy airport. They spoke no English, and one of them had congestive heart failure, the other a pacemaker. Their gigantic four-piece luggage set held the favorite part of their brick collection. Either that or the rest of the family. Either way they were freakin' heavy, and K and I spent a considerable amount of time lugging them around. On their laps they each clutched yellow gym bags stuffed with tiramisu that they had been carrying for four days through the delays.

On the fourth day, they met someone who spoke some Italian: K. You would think that SOMEONE at the airport from Alitalia could have scraped up an old Berlitz or something... We helped them to collect their luggage and showed them how to maneuver their way to the Ramada Inn (not at all a simple task). Then, K took on the task of explaining to them that the next day, they had to find their way to a DIFFERENT airport, because they had been put on a flight out of LaGuardia (as were we).

We met them the next morning at 6am and the fun continued, scrabbling through crowds of disgruntled passengers all of whom missed their Christmas dinners..being shuffled countless times into the wonderfully poignant Delta Airlines "FLY EASY!" signs positioned in the middle of everything. I thought of a new advertising slogan for them, "FEEL LIKE CHEWING YOUR FOOT OFF LIKE A STRESSED OUT CAGED RAT IN A PSYCH LAB!"

I had a brief sense-of-humor failure as we helped the little old ladies be wheeled through security. K and the security guard wheeled them through security, and I followed behind them carrying their stuff, K's stuff, and my stuff.

Security brought us to the very front of the line of about 100 people. Needless to say, this did not make the little humans behind us very happy. In fact, they were rather vocal about the whole experience, and it was rather uncomfortable at first trying to explain to them about the pacemakers, then giving up and just trying to ignore them.

As quickly as possible I unloaded the complete pile of stuff I was carrying: my coat, the ladies' coats, K's coat, my shoes, the tiramisu, my backpack, K's backpack..I felt like the volkswagen that the clowns pile out of, except instead of clowns, it was STUFF.

The last bag contained our laptops which we needed to extract from the bag and then from their carrying cases..At this point the particularly irritating woman behind me said (in the snootiest possible nasal voice you can conjur): "You'r supposed remove the laptops BEFORE hand."

I don't think that my eyebrows could arch any higher than they did...

And then I was flooded with this incredible feeling of being given a gift from God. Merry Christmas! This woman has said something SO unreasonable that you are now perfectly justified in going postal on her!!

I didn't ACTUALLY go postal. But I did see WHITE for split second before I spit out the following words, "Look lady, would you just BUTT OUT. I'm trying to carry four people's stuff here. YOU try to get the laptops out under these ladies' coats. Have a little Christian charity - or whatever your religion is, I'm sure it condones charity." and I turned and walked barefoot through the scanner. felt goooood.

So the rest of the day was spent shuttling through airports - another flight was cancelled, this time because there was a crack in the plane. Fly Delta! Fall Easy!! But ultimately, we made it and had a wonderful time with family (they all approve of K). We even made it home. inconvenience, but not enough to upset me tremendously (apart from the WHITE moment, which I still view as a blessing in disguise..).

Today, however, I was upset, because I made the mistake of reading Bush's inaugural speech. 220,000 lives in South Asia from a terrible act of nature, compared to how many this man has deliberately ended. And so it goes on. I have already begun donating money to political campaigns. This man must be stopped.

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