Among other incredible acts of generosity, our neighbor S. offered to give us a lift to the airport. This was after a week of hosting jen and I while our floors were being refinished.
As per our normal departure schedule, Jen and I were at least three hours behind, but we managed to stuff all our crap into three suitcases (two for clothes, one for loot), fed the alarm, set the cats, and jumped into his truck. This truck is not any normal vehicle. It is the Starship Enterprise. For his work, he has outfitted the truck with wireless internet service and GPS, so he has a laptop and cellphone mounted to the dash like a police cruiser. He had us on the road and halfway to Dulles before we knew it, and dropped us at the American terminal in record time. We walked to the supiciously small International desk at the American counter and I asked the lady if we could check in for our flight to Boston. She told me that the Boston and International flights departed from Reagan National, not from Dulles. It was about this point that I felt physically ill.
You know the feeling you get when you realize you forgot your wedding rings an hour before the ceremony (I did) or overslept your SAT’s (I did) or understand that you’re about to get your ass beat (I have)? It kind of felt like that.
Holding my printout of the itinerary like a clueless retard, I turned back to look at my wife. I could see the thoughts crossing her face.
I think that she was probably first marveling at how she could have married such a moron. Then, I think she was considering how we could salvage the trip. The next look was probably a flash of anger, and I wouldn’t blame her for that in the least. Finally, I saw the humor come out in her dimples, and she gave me the you-have-to-be-shitting-me look that my wife is famous for. At that point in time, I did the only thing I could think of.
S. answered the call on the second ring. “What’s wrong?”
Before I had even explained the full extent of my stupidity, he said, “I’m turning around right now. I’ll be right there.”
He was gracious about the whole thing, God bless him, and he even had the route from Dulles to Reagan mapped out on his laptop when he pulled up. He had us to the terminal in a half an hour, which has to be some kind of record, and he was kind-he only gave me a handful of good-natured shit as opposed to the truckload I deserved.
The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful. Checkin, lunch and security. News that Michael Jackson was aquitted on the terminal CNN channel. A jump jet to Boston, which was mercifully smooth. A three hour layover in Boston (Logan is a boring terminal) and then a 757 to Shannon. This flight was shorter than NY to Paris but the service on American pales compared to Delta’s.
Shannon is a little airport compared to other European desinations, but it’s cozy, and situated in the middle of an expanse of pasture and farmland. I made reservations at the nearest hotel, so we walked out into the brisk, damp air and across the street to the Great Southern Shannon Hotel. At 8am, it was a little early to have a room ready for us, but they let us sleep on the couches in the lounge for an hour until they had an opening. As with Rome, we laid down and crashed for nine hours, and rose to catch some dinner at the hotel restaurant.
This morning, we’re eating a meal at the airport restaurant, making plans for our first night in a B&B, and preparing for our first Irish traffic circle (“Look to the left, merge to the right”, said our waitress last night.) Cross your fingers for us.